Committee Oversight Reports to Xhariep, Mohokare & Ditsobatla Municipalities: adoption

NCOP Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements

17 November 2008
Chairperson: Mr B J Mkhaliphi (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

The Select Committee met to finalise and adopt the three reports on its oversight visits reports on the Xhariep, Mohokare and Ditsobatla municipalities. Members discussed the reports and made some minor adoptions for clarity or correction, before adopting all the Reports. These would be discussed in the House in the following week.

Members then noted that a fourth report was still outstanding but hopefully this should already be with the MEC. They noted that the Committee was faced with intervention into other municipalities, where members of opposing parties were at loggerheads over positions on the Executive Municipal Committees. One matter was proceeding to Court. Members then discussed the role of the Select Committee. The view was expressed that there was a need for a review of the whole municipal system, since mayors were often able to pass “political” decisions by overruling municipal managers, and that there was a need for a separation of powers between mayors and municipal managers. Members said that municipalities should submit reports early, and that there should be a “State of Municipalities” report.  However, differing views were expressed whether the Committee should intervene, or whether it should only mediate, and whether MECs called be called to account before the Committee, rather than merely being obliged to submit reports.

Meeting report

Mohokare Municipality Oversight Report
Mr M Mzizi (IFP, Gauteng) stated that the report covered all the general submissions and reflected what was observed during the oversight visit.

Mr A Moseki (ANC, North West) cited that there was minimal adherence to programmes implemented by the Mohokare municipality, and that this was a matter of major concern. He further mentioned that there were conflicts between the leadership and problems arising from  roles that needed to be clearly defined. Furthermore, Mr Moseki suggested that there were huge problems with capacity building within the Mohokare municipality.

Kgoshi L Mokoena (ANC, Limpopo) mentioned his concerns around the interview process and raised questions about the manner in which they were conducted. He then also stated that there were issues within the labour forum.

The Chairperson noted that the last bullet point of the Mohokare Municipality report must be changed to reflect “review” instead of “revise”. Members agreed. 

Members then adopted this report, as amended.

Xhariep Municipality oversight report.
The Chairperson suggested that the words “human capital” on page 3 should be changed to “human resources” and that the word “revise” on page 4 should change to “review”.

Members agreed upon this.

Kgoshi Mokoena commented that many leaders from the Xhariep municipality had been redeployed, thus more interaction was required with the relevant stakeholders to address this problem.

Mr Mzizi suggested that the Report should be adopted as it correctly reflected the findings of the Committee.

Mr Moseki indicated his agreement.

Members adopted the Xhariep Municipality oversight visit report

Ditsobatla Municipality oversight report.
Dr F Van Heerden (FF+, Free State)  indicated, in line with previous decisions, that the word “revise” on page 6 should be changed to “review”.

Mr Moseki agreed. He felt that the Report captured the views of Members well, although the part on Section 57 needed to include municipal managers. He further mentioned that the Select Committee needed to address the issue of municipal committees becoming dysfunctional.

Kgoshi Mokoena raised issues that sometimes municipal managers and councillors felt intimidated by the Mayor, and said that this matter had to be addressed. He indicated that these conflicts stemmed from irregular role definitions.

Mr Mzizi suggested that serious steps needed to be taken between the municipal managers and their staff, to ensure cooperation between councillors and other officials.

Members adopted the Report, with the amendments.

Other matters
The Chairperson mentioned that there were supposed to be four reports to finalise, but that the fourth was still outstanding by the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG), and hopefully this report was now with the MEC.

He then noted that the Committee was faced with intervention into various other municipalities, especially in Kwa-Zulu Natal, where ANC and IFP members were at loggerheads over positions in the Executive Municipal Committees.

Mr D Worth (DA, Free State) cited that a matter was going to Court. This conflict revolved around the re-nomination of two members who had been evicted from the Committee. The party whose members were evicted wanted the same two evicted persons to stand for re-nomination, whilst the other party saw this as dissatisfactory and inappropriate.

The Chairperson asked the Select Committee what its role was on intervention into municipal matters.

Mr Z Ntuli (ANC, Kwazulu Natal) indicated that the issue was much larger than it appeared. He said that this problem was prevalent in all provinces, and he called for a review of the whole municipal system.

Dr van Heerden agreed with Mr Ntuli. He said that the problem was that mayors often overruled municipal managers and thus were able to pass ‘political’ decisions instead of mandated decisions. He then called for a separation of powers between mayors and municipal managers.

Mr Mzizi then suggested that municipalities really needed to submit reports early so that the Select Committee could intervene when required.

Mr Moseki disagreed. He did not think it was within the Select Committee’s jurisdiction to intervene, but felt that it could mediate. However, he did agree that the municipalities needed to submit their reports urgently, and he further suggested a ‘state of municipalities’ report.

Mr Worth agreed with Mr Moseki,  stating that there were too many problems and concerns within all South Africa’s municipalities for the Select Committee to intervene on an individual basis. He suggested that the Select Committee’s role was to deal with major, not minor problems.

Dr van Heerden then suggested that all MECs should be involved in local government, and that they should be accountable to this Select Committee.

The Chairperson asked whether the Select Committee was taking the right steps and following the right procedures when addressing these issues of intervention. He further mentioned that municipal managers needed to send their financial reports on a monthly basis to councillors.

Mr Moseki suggested that each member of the Select Committee should see the financial reports.

Mr Mzizi then asked whether the Select Committee had the authority to question MECs instead of just asking them to submit reports.

The Chairperson thought that there was perhaps nothing further to discuss at this stage. He advised that in the following week three Members of the Select Committee had to report back to Parliament on the three oversight visits. He asked that Kgoshi Mokoena deliver the Mohokare Municipality report, that Mr Moseki deliver the Ditsobatla Municipality report and said that he would deliver the Xhariep Municipality report. He asked for reports to be corrected by Friday 21 November

The meeting was adjourned.

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