The Committee considered the report on the Modimolle-Mookgopong Local Municipality.
Members were taken through the list of concerns and observations as well as the proposed recommendations contained in the report. The Committee agreed to adopt the report. Members raised the issues of communication, completing interventions and holding MEC’s accountable when they fail to appear at the municipality when other stakeholders are also present. Members also asked for the MEC to report to members directly on reasons for failing to appear.
The Committee Secretary greeted the Committee, noted the apologies and explained that the purpose of the meeting is to adopt the report before the Committee. He asked members to nominate an Acting Chairperson to lead the meeting.
Mr J Mthethwa (ANC) was elected as the Acting Chairperson.
The Acting Chairperson thanked members for electing him and asked the staff member to take the Committee through the observations and recommendations in the report.
Committee Report on Modimolle-Mookgopong Local Municipality
The Committee staff member explained that a Multi-Party Delegation of the Select Committee conducted a loco inspection in Modimolle-Mookgopong Local Municipality. The main objective was to interact with the internal and external stakeholders of the Municipality in order to solicit their opinions on the constitutional, procedural and substantive matters related to the invoking of intervention in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
The Select Committee observations and recommendations were outlined in the report as follows:
Select Committee Observations and Opinion
-The delegation of the Select Committee has noted with concerns the poor leadership in the Municipality; non signing of attendance registry; poor internal control on financial matters; abuse of leave encashment; payment of service provides at the expense of employees; payment of creditors not listed on council creditor’s book; lack of financial capacity to recover from Eskom and Magalies Water Board’s debts and the Municipality being technically bankrupt.
-The delegation has also noted with concerns the non–accountability on human resource matters, lack of results on financial recovery plans, poor management of leave, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, as well as the non-appointment of the Administrator.
-Having conducted the loco–inspection to the Municipality and interacted with internal and external stakeholders, the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs recommends as follows:
-The NCOP approves the intervention in Modimolle-Mookgopong Local Municipality in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
-The MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs and Provincial Treasury should fast-track the process of instituting a forensic investigation on the abuse of leave encashment and table a report to the National Council of Provinces in this regard.
-The MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs should fast-track the process of appointing an Administrator and provide clear terms of reference, in order to ensure the successful implementation of the municipal finance recovery plan.
-The Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, in co-operation with the relevant Portfolio Committee in the Limpopo Provincial Legislature, should in future conduct a follow-up oversight visit to the Municipality in order to evaluate progress made in respect of the intervention in the Municipality.
The Chairperson asked members to comment.
Mr D Ximbi (ANC; Western Cape) said the observations and recommendations raised in the report have already been agreed upon by members and suggested that it be adopted.
Ms D Mateme (ANC; Limpopo) and Ms T Wana (ANC; Eastern Cape) said they second the adoption.
Ms G Oliphant (ANC; Northern Cape) asked for clarity on the issue of the Administrator.
An official replied that during the oversight visit, an official from the Department had been employed to act in the capacity of an Administrator. He explained that this was raised as a concern by members and the MEC must accept that a fully-fledged appointment is made.
An official said a communication will be sent to members on the interventions that must still be finished. He asked whether the MEC must be called upon to brief members.
A member said the issue of the time frame must be considered. Are we going to have the time to call the MEC to brief us?
The Chairperson asked about the time frame prescribed in the legislation. Can this happen without affecting the completion of the intervention?
Dr Mateme said that the MEC must brief members at the visit before members conduct the oversight. She added that by doing it together it will kill two birds with one stone.
Ms Oliphant said she would like the MEC to come and brief the Committee. She added that matters are only brought on the day and this is an issue of communication. She explained that it is important for the principle of peer review to be maintained. How do members counter-balance the information they are given? Requiring MEC’s to come and brief members’ affects the issue of quality.
Mr M Chetty (DA; KZN) said the issue of quality has been a long-standing one. He said that MEC’s must be held accountable when they do not appear. He explained that instructions were given to MEC’s to account to the Committee. He added that the MEC’s are aware of the timeframes and must make themselves available.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee has previously called upon MECs to brief members when they failed to appear. Are we going to have enough time? He said the MEC must be present at the visit and that briefing and oversight must happen together.
A member agreed that it must happen together and said timeous communication must be made by officials. Are we on good course if we take this decision?
The Committee Secretary replied that time can be made in the following weeks.
Ms Oliphant asked if the interventions were capable of being achieved.
The Chairperson replied that after the election, the new Committee will have the responsibility of doing a follow-up on the intervention.
He then adjourned the meeting.