ATC091111: Report on Oversight Visit to Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs




1.         Background and Overview

1.1        The Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, having considered the request by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to consider and report on the intervention notice invoked in Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in terms of section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution, the Committee report as follows:


1.2        In terms of section 139(1)(b), when a municipality cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the relevant provincial executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure the fulfilment of that obligation, including assuming responsibility for the relevant obligation in that municipality. 


1.3        In terms of NCOP rule 101, the Office of the Chairperson of the NCOP referred the notice of intervention by the North-West MEC for Developmental Local Government and Housing in the affairs of Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, to the Committeefor consideration and reporting. On 3 November 2009, the Committee then took a decision during the proceedings of its meeting to conduct an oversight intervention visit to the Municipality during 13 November 2009.


2.         Objective of the Oversight Visit

2.1        The main objectives of the oversight visit were to determine whether procedural requirements have been met and also to verify whether the provincial executive has used its discretion appropriately before the Committee can approve/disapprove the intervention. Through the deliberations and interaction with internal and external stakeholders, the Committee wanted to determine how the provincial executive intends to restore the fulfilment of the relevant obligations and ensure fulfilment in the long-term. The aim being to ensure intergovernmental checks and balances aimed at guarding the integrity and efficiency of the intervention process.


3.         Composition of the Delegation

3.1        The Committee Delegation composed of the following Members of Parliament and officials: Hon MH Mokgobi, Limpopo (ANC); Hon AG Matila, Gauteng (ANC); Hon JM Bekker, Western Cape (DA); Mr TM Manele, Committee Secretary (Committee Section); Mr N Mfuku, Content Adviser (Committee Section); Mr L Ngqameni, Intern (Committee Section) and Mr D Mokoena, Committee Researcher (Research Unit).


4.         Introduction


4.1        On 16 July 2009 the Provincial Executive Council (PEC) in North-West Province resolved to invoked section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality. Subsequently the Office of the Chairperson of the NCOP was informed of the PEC’s decision to intervene in the affairs of the Municipality, by the North-West MEC for Developmental Local Government and Housing.


5.         Problems Identified at the Municipality by the PEC


5.1        The main issues which led the PEC to invoke the provisions of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution and assuming the executive responsibilities at Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, was a result of a thorough  eight months assessment of the situation by the provincial Department of Local Government and Housing, as well  as the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. During the assessment period, a ministerial task team led by the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs was established to identify areas and sources of conflict than impact negatively on service delivery and governance in the Municipality.

5.2        The findings of the ministerial task team relates to performance of functions by the Municipality beyond its constitutional and legislative mandate; dysfunctional  political governance structure; approval of salary adjustment agreement was in breach of the main collective agreement; non–compliance with the legislative provisioning governing local government sphere; irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure; breakdown of service delivery and instability caused by mismanagement of union strike; dismissal of the Municipal Manager and allegation of fraud, corruption and mismanagement.             

5.3        Subsequent to the ministerial task team findings, the MEC responsible for Developmental Local Government and Housing appointed an Administrator to execute all executive obligations and functions of the Municipality, with effect from 1 July 2009. 


6.         Oversight Visit at Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality 


6.1        On the 13 November 2009, the Delegation of the Committee had interactive and robust engagements with the internal and external stakeholder of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality. The main internal stakeholders the Delegation interacted with in the Municipality included the Speaker, Mayor, Chief Whip, Ward Committee Members and Councillors. Since the Administrator was in Bloemfontein, he delegated the Acting Municipal Manager to table his progress report on his behalf. The main external stakeholders the delegation interacted included members of the community forums and non- governmental organization.


6.2        For the purpose of this report, the submissions made by both internal and external stakeholders are structured based on the five key performance areas of local government which are: Municipal Transformation; Basic Service Delivery; Local Economic Development; Municipal Financial Viability and Management as well as Good Governance and Public Participation.       


(A).       Municipal Transformation and Organisational Development


6.3        Municipal Council: The submissions made by the Executive Mayor on behalf of the Mayoral Committee indicated that the Municipality welcomed the intervention in its affairs by the PEC of the North West Province. The Executive Mayor indicated that prior to the 29 October 2009, there was confusion by the Municipal Council on the roles and responsibilities of the appointed Administrator, as well as the process and the manner in which the intervention was handled by the provincial Department of Local Government and Housing. Furthermore, there was political infighting in the Municipality which contributed to the revoking of section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution, as a result of the former Executive Mayor (The new Executive Mayor assumed responsibility from September 2009). In essence, it was reported that the former Executive Mayor’s management style contributed to the failure of the Municipality.


6.4        Some of the Municipal transformation and organisational development challenges highlighted by the Municipal Council included higher level of vacancies in critical positions; manifestation of strikes; salary agreement which has not yet been finalised with organised labour and the salary agreements reached outside the bargaining council entered into by former Municipal Manager without Council approval.


6.5        Administrator: The Administrator’s report to the Committee Delegation reflected inherent gaps identified in areas of organogram; performance management systems; pending labour related cases and lack of proper record systems in the operation of the Municipality. However, since the intervention there are regular engagements with the unions to resolve the labour disputes on salaries. Furthermore, a performance management system has been put in place, and was aligned to the strategic plan of the Municipality as well as the IDP.


6.6        Provincial Department: The Provincial Department reported that Municipal Manager was dismissed in January 2009. Since then there were labour unrests due to salary adjustment and differences between employer and workers (SAMWU workers embarked on a strike since May 2009 till August 2009). In addition, the IDP processes not properly executed as well as the organizational policies of Municipality were not implemented e.g. the appointment of personnel.

6.7        Organized Labour: The organized labour, as led by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) submitted to the Committee Delegation that corruption has led to the invoking of section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution. Since the provisions have been invoked in the Municipality, proper administrative systems should be put in place. SAMWU identified that there was no clear and decisive political leadership in the Municipality, as a result, many Council resolutions were unlawful. That Management did subsequently advise the Municipal Council on those resolutions, however the Municipal Council implemented them irrespectively. That therefore, the intervention process should be extended since there was much work that needs to be addressed and cohesion amongst stakeholders within the municipality still existed.


6.8        SALGA: The provincial SALGA official, Advocate Yawa, reported to the Committee Delegation that he assisted the Municipality during the confusion by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the appointed Administrator, as well as the implication thereof during the intervention process.


(B).       Basic Service delivery


6.9        Municipal Council: The key service delivery challenges highlighted in the Mayoral Committee report related to water shortages and reliance on underground supply of water and the lack of water to be provided to the community.


6.10      Administrator: The Administrator’s report indicated that water and sanitation provisions in all local municipalities under the district (Ditsobotla, Ramotshere Moila, Ratlou and Tswaing) were being investigated and assisted on budget, planning as well as on maintenance issues.


6.11      Provincial Department: Reported that there were huge water and sanitation backlogs in the District, that there were also community protests over water provision in Dinokana and acute water shortages in Tswaing and Ditsobotla. Furthermore, there were also services delivery disruptions due to the strike action by SAMWU workers, e.g. water tankering and servicing of septic tanks in rural areas.


6.12      Community Forums and Organised Labour: Some of the service delivery concerns raised by the members of the community forums and representatives from organised labour related to lack of water provision; lack of roads construction projects; lack of refuse dumping sites; inaccessible roads and general lack of youth facilities.


(C).       Local Economic Development (LED)


6.13      Administrator: There were challenges with regard to the local economic development in the Municipality, this was observed through the haphazard implementation of LED projects. The Administrator has since stopped all new LED projects and investigated and evaluated existing projects. This exercise involved local municipalities; the national Department of Rural Development and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to try and salvage LED projects.


6.14      Community Forums: The concerns raised by the stakeholders pertained to lack of business opportunities, lack of job opportunities, lack of access to land, lack of equity in the awarding of municipal tenders, and lack of economic financial support to small businesses in the Municipality.


(D).       Municipal Financial Viability and Management


6.15     Municipal Council:  The Municipal Council submitted to the Committee Delegation that there were illegal virements done by the Finance Department, non–adherence to supply chain management regulations; wasteful expenditure on projects (Brazil Soccer Academy, Belgium trip and goat and cattle projects); the Municipal oversight Portfolio Committee on Finance failed to provide financial oversight; the municipal budget was not aligned with Integrated Development Plan (IDP); withdrawal of Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) by the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs as well as the failure to provide allowances to the traditional leaders during Council sitting. Despite the above-stated challenges, the Municipal Council appreciated the support from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) with regards to financial management, as well as the interns provided by the provincial Department of Local Government and Housing.

6.16      Administrator: Reported on possible fraud related to endowment policies; no adherence to supply chain management regulation; payment of creditors as well as reporting as per regulations on finances of Council. Since then, the Municipality has now developed an investment register and investment policy. The Supply Chain Manager has been suspended and all municipal purchases have since been audited. The DBSA was currently assisting the Municipality in developing a reporting system, andGobodo Auditors were reconciling the previous years’ balances.

6.17      Provincial Department: The Provincial Department reported that the status of the Municipality prior to the intervention reflectedprocurement processes in terms of the requirement of the MFMA not being adhered to; financial management practices of the Municipality were not sound and lastly, the service delivery grants were used for other purposes (Disaster Management Grant was part of it).

(E).       Good Governance and Public Participation     


6.18      Municipal Council: Despite the allegations of political interference in the administration and high political contestation in the municipality, the report of the Mayoral Committee highlighted progress in respect of public participation, convening of regular public meetings.


6.19      Provincial Department: On good governance, the Provincial Department reported that prior to the intervention, Municipal Council meetings were not properly convened; the relations amongst the Municipal Councillors were not sound and lastly, the Municipal Council prioritized non-core functions over basic service delivery.


6.20      Community Forums: Some of the good governance and public participation concerns raised by the members of the community forum and organized labour included lack of transparency in municipal decision making processes, failure by the municipality to facilitate public participation in 2009/2010   Integrated  Development Planning.    


6.21      Traditional Leaders: The concerns raised by the traditional leaders in respect of good governance related to lack of communication and proper consultation by the Municipality on matters related to service delivery.         


7.         Committee Observations and Opinion


7.1               The Committee Delegation expressed the opinion that the While Paper on Local Government identified performance management as one of local government’s tools for the implementation of its developmental mandate in terms of the Constitution. Chapter 6 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act (Act No. 32 of 2000) provides the legal framework for performance management and linked it squarely with the IDP. The Committee Delegation further expressed that the drafting of the Municipal IDP should provide appropriate mechanisms; processes and procedures; for consultation with and participation of local communities, organs of state, traditional authorities and other stakeholders.


7.2        The Committee Delegation is of the opinion that there is a need to pay greater attention on service delivery issues, and the Municipality must be responsive and address the problems raised by the community with the necessary speed. The Municipality should treat every service delivery problem with the necessary seriousness it deserves. That all stakeholders in the municipal jurisdiction must assist the transformation process, within the framework of co-operative government work.


7.3        The Committee Delegation emphasized that one of the objects of local government in terms of section 152 (1)(e) of the Constitution was the need to encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in local government. The Committee further expressed that the need for participation in the Municipality should take place through the structures (ward committee) established in terms of the Municipal Structures Act (Act No. 117 of 1998). It must also take place through mechanisms, processes and procedures that exist in terms of the Systems Act (Act No. 32 of 2000) that have been established by the Municipal Council (section 17).




8.                   Acknowledgement


8.1               The Committee Delegation acknowledged the varied contributions of the parliamentary staff who participated in the oversight visit in their various capacities. 


9.         Recommendations


9.1        Having conducted the oversight visit to Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality and interacted with internal and external stakeholders, the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs recommends as follows:   


9.1.1     National Council of Provinces approves the intervention as issued by the Provincial Executive Council of the North-West Province in terms of section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution.


9.1.2     That National Council of Provinces further approves recommendations to the Provincial Executive Council of the North-WestProvince to extend the intervention period by three months, in order to ensure that during the extended intervention period, minimum standards of service delivery will be achieved in the Municipality.


9.1.3     The Administrator should fast-tract the process of appointing and filling of section 57 Managers and further assist the Municipality to ensure that the Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP) and the IDP are aligned with the Municipality budget, and has the support and confidence of the whole community.


9.1.4     The North-West MEC for Developmental Local Government and Housing to table quarterly progress report to the National Council of Provinces on the status of the intervention in the Municipality; including challenges encountered.


9.1.5     The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in co-operation with Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority to facilitate training and capacity building for Municipal Councillors; to further deepen their understanding of their oversight role; legal framework and policies that govern the activities of the Municipality.


9.1.6     The Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in co-operation with the relevant North-West Portfolio Committee in the Provincial Legislature, to conduct a follow-up oversight visit to the Municipality in order to monitor and evaluate progress made in respect of the intervention in the Municipality.


Report to be considered.




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