Mafube & Masilonyana: audit outcomes hearing

Public Accounts (SCOPA)

17 September 2019
Chairperson: Mr M Hlengwa (IFP)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee convened to interrogate two municipalities from the Free State province -- the Masilonyana and Mafube municipalities -- on the findings of the Auditor General (AG) and the steps they had taken to implement the recommendations. The two municipalities had aroused the displeasure of the Committee because their administrators had failed to attend the scheduled meeting the previous week. Both Masilonyana and Mafube were among 12 municipalities deemed problematic, as the AG’s audit outcomes had found that most of them had been disclaimed for more than three consecutive years.

The two municipalities had been placed under administration in order to salvage their financial situation. Masilonyana had run into financial instability, and could not pay its workers for an extended length of time. There was inefficiency in service delivery involving the water and electricity supply. The pipeline associated with a major water treatment plant had leakages at various points, and this had significantly impacted on the efficiency of the plant. Various litigations were still in court regarding the water treatment plant project, and the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) felt the only way to rescue the municipality from the legal quagmire was to have the court nullify the project. The Department still awaited a court judgment on the matter. There had been various threats to the life of the former administrator, which had prompted COGTA to appoint interim co-administrators.  

Members raised concern about the failure of the co-administrators to attend Council meetings. Key positions had not been filled for over two years after the commencement of the intervention, which was meant to be an interim solution. The billing system and computer systems were also dysfunctional. All this had culminated in poor service delivery by the municipality.

The Mafube municipality also had challenges with the implementation of the provisions of Section 139(1)(b) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). There had been a collapse in working relationships among the various role players, especially after the promotion of one of the two co-administrators to the position of Municipal Manager. Both the Administrator and Municipal Manager had hardly attended Council meetings. The Administrator had not attended most of the meetings because he had not authorised them. However, he had had to condone some of the meetings since Section 139(1)(b) was an interim intervention. The Mayor of Mafube implored the Free State government to assign a more experienced administrator to the municipality, as service delivery would eventually collapse if the current administrator continued.

The Committee frowned at the failure of the administrators of the two municipalities to answer direct questions. Various role players needed to prioritise the interests of the municipalities over political and personal differences. The provincial COGTA should not take sides with any of the conflicting individuals. Instead, it should reach conclusions and decisions after thorough investigations of the issues involved. The Committee would pay working visits to all the concerned municipalities to monitor the implementation of the various recommendations.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s introduction

The Chairperson said the current meeting dealt with two municipalities in the Free State which had been summoned to Parliament because of continuous adverse audit findings, but whose administrators had been absent at the previous meeting. The Committee had given the municipalities ample time to prepare for the meeting, but they had not shown up and had not given any concrete reasons for their absence. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and other committees which had been present did not take kindly to such conduct, especially knowing that these municipalities had been placed under Section 139 (1)(b). The Committee had had to cancel a meeting involving Eskom in order to attend to the municipalities. The municipalities needed to take Parliament seriously and work in alignment with the current intervention, which was Section 139(1)(b) of the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA).

The National Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) had sent his apologies, as he was in the Eastern Cape to launch a service delivery project. The Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of COGTA in the Free State also sent his apologies. The Director General (DG) of COGTA could not come to the meeting because he was on sick leave. Mr S Somyo (ANC) informed the Committee that the ANC caucus was at a meeting in preparation for the funeral of the Deputy Minister of the Department of Minerals and Energy, Ms Bavelile Hlongwa, who had died in an auto accident on 13 September. The Committee observed a minute’s silence in honour of the late Deputy Minister.

Masilonyana Municipality

The Committee invited Masilonyana Municipality to interrogate the temporary removal of the Administrator, Mr Steve Kau. The Executive Council had decided to remove Mr Kau from his position until the Council had reviewed the intervention imposed on the Municipality in terms of Section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution. The Municipality remained under administration and the Director General, Mr Kopung Ralikontsane, and Mr Mokete Duma, the Head of Department (HOD): COGTA, would act as co-administrators on behalf of the Executive Council. The Municipality would be required to consult with both Ms Ralikontsane and Duma on any executive decisions that were to be made and implemented, in line with the terms of reference (ToRs) used when the Executive Council invoked Section 139(1)(b) in the Municipality. It was concerning that the HOD had attended a Council meeting only once since he became a co-administrator.

Mr Duma , acknowledged that he and Mr Ralikotsane had been assigned as co-administrators in the Municipality. The Executive Council had decided to remove Mr Kau in order to save his life. There had been numerous threats to his life. In addition, there had been labour unrest and the trade unions said they no longer wanted him as an Administrator. There were also matters related to the appointment of a new Mayor in the Municipality. The Executive Council already appointed an administrator, whose term began on 1 September 2019. The Executive Council would facilitate a meeting, where the new administrator would be formerly introduced to the Municipality.

The HOD acknowledged that he had attended a Council meeting only once. However, a number of meetings had been held in his office. Other role players facilitated Council meetings in the Municipality.

Discussion

The Chairperson expressed concern that the DG and the HOD became co-administrators in December 2018 and they still remained in that capacity. Were there no plans to appoint another administrator? The HOD's approach to Council meetings was unacceptable. He was an administrator in the Municipality, and not in his office.

Mr Somyo asked if the HOD had been involved in the process that led to the intervention. What had necessitated the intervention? Why was the administrator removed? What was the role of the HOD in the intervention? How far had the Department gone with the intervention?

Mr Duma said he had written a report to the EXCO, which necessitated placing the Municipality under Section 139(1)(b). He had also recommended the interventions to the Executive Council. The Municipality was immersed in diverse challenges, including disruption of water supplies, political instability, death threats to the administrator's life, and the inability of the Municipality to pay its staff, among others. This had led to third party payment. The Department had had to pay some of the debts the Municipality owed.

The Department had filled critical posts in the Municipality. The chief financial officer (CFO) was in an acting capacity at the moment and the Department was in the process of appointing a substantive CFO. The Department was able to resolve challenges related to staff members' salaries and was able to facilitate the appointment of a new administrator.

The Department had decided to withdraw the intervention. However, the EXCO had insisted that the new administrator give a detailed account of what went on in the Municipality. The Provincial Treasury had enforced a punitive measure against the Municipality due to the wrong utilisation of the municipal infrastructure grant (MIG). The grant had wrongfully been used to pay staff salaries. The Department had resolved some of the financial matters the Municipality had with the National Treasury. The results of the forensic investigation into the finances of the Municipality would be made available to the law enforcement agency once concluded.

The Chairperson sought additional clarity on the intervention. Was the intervention consistent with relevant norms and standards? What did the Department mean by an interim administrator? The HOD and the DG had become co-administrators about 10 months ago.

The HOD said he and the DG were appointed co-administrators until the appointment of a new administrator. The appointment of a new administrator had been delayed due to a number of issues. The Department had eventually succeeded in appointing a new administrator.

Mr Somyo asked if the HOD was accountable for the implementation of Section 139(1)(b).

The HOD said he was accountable.

Mr R Lees (DA) expressed concern that the HOD and the DG had acted as co-administrators for 10 months. Also, the Municipality had been under administration for close to 30 months. Did the Municipality collect revenues for the 30-month period? How did the Department manage to pay outstanding salaries? Where was the money coming from? How did the Department increase revenue collection?

The HOD said that the municipality had not optimised its revenue collection and expenditure. Its financial system did not comply with that of the National Treasury. The server of the Municipality had also crashed at a point and the Department was in the process of procuring another server for the municipality. The money had come from other Departments, especially the Department of Transport and Public Works. The last time COGTA had given money to the Municipality was in March 2019.

Mr Lees asked why the CFO had resigned in August of 2018. He wondered why a substantive CFO had not been appointed since then. He expressed concern that other departments had given money to the Municipality to pay staff salaries, and about the absence of an adequate billing system and dysfunctional computer systems. For how long had the Municipality been without a technical operator?

The HOD said that the Municipality had advertised the CFO position, but none of the applicants had met the minimum requirements. The Municipality had re-advertised the position of the CFO. He was not sure how long it had been without a technical director.

The Chairperson said that the HOD could provide written answers to the questions he could not answer on the spur of the moment.

Mr Lees expressed concern that a technical director had not been appointed since 2014, when the previous technical director had resigned.

Mr Duma said the Department and the Municipality would consider the appointment of a new technical director. Another concern in the Municipality was litigation involving a service provider in charge of a pipeline for water supplies. There were leakages in various parts of the pipeline and this had affected the functionality of the water treatment system. The water treatment plant in the area was not well-commissioned.

The Chairperson asked what the Department was doing to solve the problem with the pipeline project. The problem had started almost five years ago.

Mr Lees sought clarity on the overdraft that had been arranged by the Mayor in October 2018. He commented that the overdraft had later been withdrawn by the co-administrators.

The HOD said the Department's engineers and other role players were in the process of solving problems related to the dysfunctional pipeline. The matter was still in court, and the contractor would be punished accordingly if the investigation revealed that the problem resulted from negligence. With regard to the overdraft, a report tabled at a Council meeting revealed that the Municipality did not comply with the requirements of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). Thus, the overdraft was withdrawn in the subsequent Council meeting. There had been labour unrest after the withdrawal and the labour unions said they no longer wanted the Administrator. The matter was also condoned.

The Chairperson said that condonation was not sufficient to address the wrongdoings related to the overdraft. What had been the nature of consequence management?

A Member said the co-administrators should be aware of all financial dealings that occurred within their purview. It was worrisome that the HOD, being an administrator, did not appear at most of the Council meetings. The HOD should have detected findings in the financial statement of the Municipality. He should have communicated the financial matters to the MEC for appropriate action.

The HOD said there had been a need to appoint another administrator following the removal of Mr Kau in order to handle the enormous responsibility. This had necessitated the appointment of the HOD and DG as co-administrators pending when another administrator would be appointed. The processes that led to the new appointment were tedious. The term of the new administrator had started on 1 September 2019.

The Chairperson said the succession plan to replace Mr Kau had been completely flawed. How could a Provincial HOD and DG be made co-administrators of a municipality? How many of the Council meetings took place, and how many did the HOD attend?

Ms B Swarts (ANC) wanted to know if the HOD had been aware of all the Council meetings.

The HOD said that he attended only one Council meeting, where he informed stakeholders that every Council meeting must be authorised by the HOD. He was not at subsequent meetings. He had met with the Speaker, the Municipal Manager and other role players before the second Council meeting. The second meeting had been discontinued due to problems related to minutes of previous meetings and non-visibility of the documents.

The Chairperson expressed concern about the failure of the HOD to attend Council meetings. He could not make his presentation at the Council meeting. Could things have been different if the HOD was at the Council meeting?

Mr Lees sought clarity on the roles of the co-administrators. Were the roles of the DG and HOD the same? Why did the Department choose the DG and the HOD as co-administrators instead of other officials? Was there any attempt to convene a Council meeting in response to Mr Motete Khoabane's (MPL’s) letter dated 21 December 2018? Who was responsible for the monitoring of the progress of the intervention in terms of turn-around and terms of reference? How did the Department intend to address the challenge with the water treatment plant and electricity, among others? Did the Department make an effort to convene the required Council meetings? Did the Department report to the relevant Portfolio Committees on the challenges and the interventions? It was worrisome that the HOD was not aware of most of the challenges the Municipality was facing. What measures were in place to fill critical positions?

The HOD said the plan was that he would act as the administrator in the absence of the DG, and vice versa. The Department could not appoint other officials because the staff of the Department were overstretched. Some of them worked with the Provincial Treasury. The Department planned for Council meetings, but the first meeting had been convened with the approval of the HOD. This was contrary to the standards. Nevertheless, he had attended the meeting since he and the DG were in an acting capacity.

Underperformance of the water treatment plant, electricity and sanitation presented a major challenge. The case on the pipeline associated with the water treatment project was still in court. The Department would determine the next step once the court made its pronouncement on the matter. The monitoring of the progress of the intervention was done by a standing committee and a joint committee, which compiled the report and submitted it to the MEC of COGTA. Currently, both the Administrator and an advocate were in charge of the intervention. They both report on the progress and submit it to the Department, which eventually submits it to the Executive Council. Relevant Portfolio Committees were aware of the situation and the measures the Department had put in place to address the challenges. The Department had short-listed candidates for three critical posts, including the CFO, the Director of Technical and Infrastructural Services, and the Director of Community and Social Services.

A Member sought clarity on the governance and accountability in relation to the intervention. What were the scope and conditions of the intervention? Were there any plans for financial recovery after the removal of the administrator on 21 December 2018? If yes, were they ever implemented? If yes, what were the outcomes? Were there regular meetings by the Provincial Department of COGTA and the Department of Finance, as required by law? Did the HOD of COGTA and Finance submit progress reports to the MECs of COGTA and Finance, as well as the Premier of the Province?

The Chairperson read out a communique that stated the reasons for the removal of the administrator. The communique revealed that  the administrator had failed to deliver the terms of reference associated with his position. It stated that the Municipality had been in the dark since the appointment of Mr Kau as the administrator. Some of the challenges included the Eskom-related matter, poor service delivery and a failure to submit financial statements to the relevant authority, as required by the terms of reference.

Mr Godfrey Mahlatsi. HOD: Department of Finance,  said that the financial recovery plan was initiated and implemented for the Masilonyana Municipality. The outcome of the financial recovery plan was tabled at a Council meeting held on 22 July 2019.

Mr Duma said the Executive Council had taken the decision to remove Mr Kau in order to protect the interests of the community and to protect Mr Kau's life, because there were numerous threats on his life. Five out of the seven allegations against Mr Kau were found to be correct, while the others were politically motivated. Mr Kau had opened a criminal charge on matters related to Eskom, and the Department was awaiting the judgment of the court on the matter.

The Chairperson requested the HOD of COGTA to specify the genuine concerns, and those with political motives.

Mr Duma said that he had designed the terms of reference. The Department would ensure active engagement with all role players to ensure effective service delivery in the Municipality. The Department had been able to solve some of the problems that impacted on service delivery, particularly the non-payment of staff salaries. Relevant Parliamentary committees would be updated on the progress of the interventions as required.

Mr Somyo express concern about the lack of significant improvement in the Municipality, despite the invocation of Section 139(1)(b). There appeared to have been no intervention at all. The Department and other role players must be wary of the consequences of their actions and inaction, knowing full well that the funds allocated to various projects in the Municipality came from taxpayers. The funds should be used to better the Municipality. The roles and responsibilities of every official must be clearly specified, and those officials should be held to account based on the terms of reference. The Accounting Officer must be able to take responsibility for whatever occurred under his watch.

Mr Duma said the current administrator would compile a progress report on the intervention after three months. He promised the Committee that the Department would ensure a marked improvement in service delivery in Masilonyana Municipality, based on the concerns and recommendations of the Members.

A Member sought clarity on the terms of reference for the new administrator. What was the duration of the contract? Why had the administrator been given three months to compile the progress report?

The Chairperson asked the Mayor of Masilonyana, Mr Nontsizi Moshana, to provide his input into the matter. There should be a political commitment to ensure the success of various projects in the Municipality. The political system must create a conducive environment for the provincial COGTA to function optimally.

Mr Moshana said the provincial COGTA had not intervened significantly to resolve the challenges in the Municipality. Although COGTA had helped in the payment of staff salaries, there were still numerous outstanding matters that had been left to the Municipality to resolve. There should be adequate oversight of the various projects run by COGTA in order to have clean audit outcomes. Most of the service providers appointed by COGTA were not delivering. The Municipality was taking steps to resolve the water crisis.

Mafube Municipality

The Committee expressed concern about the failure of the administrator to attend most Council meetings that were held in the Municipality. The administrator had also failed to come for the previous SCOPA meeting. The Municipality had poor audit outcomes for the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years. It had been placed under Section 139(1)(b) since 21 April 2017. The annual financial statement for the 2016/17 financial year had been submitted late for audit and the audit outcome came out only in November 2018. The annual financial statement for the 2017/18 financial year had not been submitted, as of 17 September 2019. The Committee was concerned about the lack of service delivery in the Municipality, despite COGTA's intervention. Was COGTA satisfied with the outcome of the intervention in the Municipality? What were the roles and responsibilities of the administrator?

The HOD of COGTA said that the Executive Council had concluded that there was no administrator in the Mafube Municipality, as the CFO had only been acting as the administrator. This had led the Council to place the Municipality under Section 139(1)(b). The Department of COGTA had also adopted Section 35 of the MFMA to address the numerous challenges confronting the Municipality. The Section empowered the MEC of COGTA to appoint more than one administrator to deal with Municipal challenges, as necessary. However, Section 35 of the MFMA required the dissolution of the Council. The Department was not satisfied with the outcome of the intervention so far. At a point, workers in the Municipality had gone on strike for about eight months. The Department had received several reports about the dysfunctionality of the administrator. The HOD had written the administrator to inform him about the concerns and the associated consequences. The assistant administrator reported to the senior administrator, who then reported to the Head of Administration.

Discussion

The Chairperson expressed concern at the appointment of two administrators to run the affairs of the Municipality. The procedure leading to the appointment of the administrators was wrong. There appeared to be a contestation between the two administrators. One of them was more co-operative with the Municipality than the other. Which of the administrators did the Committee hold to account?

The HOD agreed that the appointments had been based on legal counsel, and did not align with relevant standards.

Mr Somyo referred to a letter dated 3 May 2019, which referred to the signatories to the financial transactions of the Municipality. Was the HOD aware of the letter?

The HOD said most of the problems arose from the clash between the two administrators. He was aware of the letter. The letter dealt with officials that managed the account of the Municipality.

Mr Mokhele Notsi, Administrator of Mafube Municipality, told the Committee that he had attended the meeting held on 16 August 2019. He had not attended most of the Council meetings because he did not approve of them.

The Chairperson commented that the power of the Administrator to undertake all statutory executive functions of the Mayor had been taken away from him. He expressed displeasure that the Administrator had not attended most of the Council meetings.

The administrator maintained that he did not attend most of the meetings because he had not authorised them, although he had condoned some of the meetings held.

An official said that the administrator had the power to undertake the statutory functions of the Mayor under ideal circumstances. In this particular instance, however, the administrator had not exercised that power.

Mr B Hadebe (ANC) said that the administrator had the power to stop the meeting from convening even though he was informed of it. Why did he allow the meeting to continue without exercising his authority, based on the terms of reference? Did the administrator write to the Council about the concerns he had with certain meetings? If yes, did the Council reply to the letter and what was the nature of the response, if there was any?

Mr Somyo expressed dissatisfaction with the response of the administrator. He had the executive power to convene and condone meetings. What was done after the meetings that were condoned?

The Chairperson wanted to know about the meetings called by the administrator. The administrator should naturally investigate those meetings that had been held without his approval. Who called those meetings? The administrator was present at the meeting held on 16 August 2019, because his name appeared at the end of the attendance sheet. He did not attend the next meeting, however, but had sent his apologies. Someone must have invited the administrator before he could tender his apologies. Who was the person that had invited the administrator? He expressed frustration at the response of the administrator.

The administrator said there were occasions that he wrote to the Council about the illegality of certain meetings. Nonetheless, the meetings were held despite his concern. He had attended a meeting in Cornelia, despite the fact that he was not the convener of the meeting. The administrator said he called certain meetings, but did not give the specifics of those meetings.

An MP from another Committee expressed the frustration her Committee had encountered on the current matter. Her Committee had once requested the Municipality to report on the progress of the interventions. However, the Municipality had talked only about the challenges they had with the intervention. It did appear as if the Municipality was not aware of the role of the administrator. Did it acknowledge it was under Section 139(1)(b)? How much was the remuneration of the administrator? Had the administrator reported that he was being undermined to the provincial COGTA? What had COGTA done to remedy the situation? Had COGTA monitored the performance of their appointed administrator?

Mr Hadebe asked if the administrator had tabled his challenges at relevant meetings. If yes, what were the mitigation measures?

The HOD of the provincial COGTA said he had taken the necessary steps to clarify the roles of the administrator to the relevant authorities. The Council meetings had been convened by the Mayor, in consultation with the administrator.

Mr Silva Gelderblom, Chief Director: Local Government Improvement Programme, Free State Provincial Treasury, who previously acted as administrator for two municipalities in the province, said that all statutory executive powers of the Mayor were conferred on the administrator, including the power to convene meetings, under Section 139(1)(b). He would normally consult with the Accounting Officer and the Speaker whenever necessary in order to clarify areas of concern.

Mr Lees said that the administrators were confused regarding their roles. The terms of reference mandate the administrator to submit monthly reports to the provincial COGTA. Were those reports submitted to COGTA? If yes, COGTA should have identified the challenges before now. What had COGTA done to rectify the identified challenges? The term of reference also state that the administrator must ratify all the decisions that were taken at Council meetings. Did the administrator fulfil this mandate?

The HOD of COGTA said that he had instructed the administrator to submit a personal report, since the Department could not rely only on the report from the Municipality. He confirmed that the administrator had consistently submitted the reports since the instruction was given. Most of the problems started after the appointment of the Municipal Manager.

Ms Swarts expressed concern with the attitude of the HOD of COGTA towards the whole matter. Was the HOD aware that meetings took place without the authorisation of the administrator? The HOD knew that the administrator was being paid without offering any service. Who was the signatory to the account of the Municipality? The HOD had said the administrator had submitted regular reports on Council meetings. What were the contents of those reports? How did the administrator get to know about those meetings? Who convened the meetings? The breakdown in the work relationship started when one of the co-administrators was promoted to the position of Municipal Manager. What was the role of the Municipal Manager in the Council meetings? Were Council meetings convened by subordinates of the Municipal Manager? Were the meetings held to address strike action by workers of the Municipality? Why did the administrator and the Municipal Manager fail to reach consensus on Council meetings? Did the Municipal Manager take any steps to resolve the rift between him and the administrator? The HOD must not defend wrongdoings. He appeared to take sides with the Municipal Manager and the administrator, which was a wrong thing to do. Did the administrator, Municipal Manager and the Department of COGTA investigate any wrongdoing that impacted negatively on service delivery? Was there any consequence for those involved in irregularity and illegality? The HOD, administrator and the Municipal Manager appeared to hide certain details from the Committee, which frustrated the Committee Members. Public officials should not defend one another's wrongdoing at the expense of service delivery to the community.

The HOD of the provincial COGTA said he had the statutory power to be a signatory to municipal accounts. However, he did not really exercise that power. The CFO and the Municipal Manager had managed the account. He gave an instance that occurred on 18 August 2019, where R40 million was transferred to an ABSA account operated by the Municipality. The money was transferred from that account on the same day. He did not know why the account was created and why the money had been transferred to another account.

There had been a series of meetings between the provincial CoGTA and various role players, including the administrator and the Mayor, to provide solutions to the challenges. The provincial COGTA had proposed the adoption of Section 152 of the MFMA to rescue the Municipality from its financial predicaments. However, the intervention was hampered by the numerous litigations that existed against the Municipality. A certain service provider had been awarded a project worth millions of rand, and had not delivered the services as expected. The provincial COGTA had felt the only way to rescue the Municipality from the litigation quagmire was to have the court nullify the contract officially.

The HOD said he was not defensive of both the administrator and the Municipal Manager, as doing so would jeopardise his job.

The Chairperson lamented the complete breakdown in the working relationship between the various role players. The Municipality had recommended the recall of the administrator, and that the Municipal Manager be given full power to manage the affairs of the Municipality. The Committee rejected the recommendation. There would be no abrupt halt to the current intervention. The national COGTA should help to investigate the validity of the various Council meetings. Every public official must deliver the services they were paid to offer. Both the administrator and Municipal Manager had been absent from meetings held on 28 August 2018, 4 January 2019, 15 March 2019, 29 March 2019 and 6 September 2019. Both of them were present at a meeting held on 13 December 2018, but both of them had sent apologies for the meeting held on 24 August 2018.

The HOD must be careful not take sides with either the administrator or the Municipal Manager. The HOD's conclusions and decisions had to be based on the thorough due process of investigation. There were merits to the frustration of the administrator and the concerns of the municipality. The Committee would reconvene to discuss the audit outcomes of both Masilonyana and Mafube Municipalities. The HOD should convene a meeting between all role players within seven days to proffer solutions to the challenges.

Mafube Municipality should understand it was under administration, and this was not business as usual. The administrator must fulfil the relevant mandates. All role players must put personal and political differences aside and prioritise effective service delivery to the municipality. The Portfolio Committee on COGTA would handle some of the matters. The Department of COGTA and the municipality must respond to all the concerns raised by the Auditor General. All cases of financial misappropriations must be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. Corrupt practices would become the norm in the absence of management. The Municipalities from the Free State were the most challenging of all the 12 municipalities interrogated by the Committee. The Committee would pay working visits to all the concerned Municipalities to see what occurred on the ground.

Mr Hadebe said that the Municipality was under administration. The Mayor, CFO and the Municipal Manager were under the authority of the administrator, and not the other way round.

Mr Jabulani Sigasa, Mayor of Mafube, said the Municipality welcomed the intervention of the Provincial Government in the form of Section 139(1)(b). However, it no longer wanted the current administrator because he was not performing his duties. He was a former Councillor and lacked the experience to manage a Municipality. The Municipality would collapse eventually if the current administrator retained his position. The Provincial Government must provide the Municipality with a more experienced administrator in order to ensure the success of the intervention.

The Committee did not accept the recommendations of the Mayor. The Provincial Treasury had to put measures in place to harmonise the working relationships among the various role-players in the interests of effective service delivery. The provincial government should decide the fate of the administrator, based on a thorough investigation.

The meeting was adjourned.

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