ATC150901: Report of the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the notice of Intervention issued in terms of Section 139(1)(B) of the Constitution, (1996), in Tswaing Local Municipality, dated 1st September 2015
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON THE NOTICE OF INTERVENTION ISSUED IN TERMS OF SECTION 139(1)(b) OF THE CONSTITUTION, (1996), IN TSWAING LOCAL MUNICIPALITY, DATED 1st SEPTEMBER 2015
- Introduction and Background
1.1 On the 23 March 2015, the MEC for Local Government and Human Settlement in the North West Province tabled to the Office of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), a Notice of intervention in Tswaing Local Municipality in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution. Subsequent to the tabling, the Chairperson of the NCOP referred the Notice of intervention in terms of Rule 101 of the NCOP, to the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, for consideration and report. On the 19 August 2015, the Select Committee conducted an oversight visit to the Tswaing Local Municipality.
- Objectives of the Oversight Visit
2.1 The objective of conducting the oversight visit was to consult and interact with the internal and external stakeholders of the Municipality in order to solicit their opinion with regard to the constitutional, procedural and substantive matters related to the intervention in the Municipality, in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
- Composition of the Delegation
3.1 The delegation of the Select Committee was composed of the following Members of Parliament and Officials: Hon J Mohapi, Free State (ANC); Hon T Wana, Eastern Cape (ANC), Hon S Thobejane, Limpopo (ANC); Hon D Ximbi, Western Cape (ANC); Hon T Mhlanga, Mpumalanga (ANC); Hon G Manopole, Northern Cape (ANC); Hon M Chetty, KwaZulu-Natal (DA); Hon T Mokwele, North West (EFF); Mr T Manele (Committee Secretary); Mr N Mfuku (Content Advisor); Mr B Mahlangeni (Committee Researcher) and Mr L Ben (Committee Assistant).
4. General Overview of Oversight Visit to Tswaing Local Municipality
On the 19 August 2015, the delegation of the Select Committee had interaction and consultative meeting with the internal and external stakeholders of the Municipality. The internal and external stakeholders the delegation interacted with included the MEC for Local Government and Human Settlement, the Mayor, Speaker, Chief Whip, Administrator, representatives of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Business Formation, Organised Labour, Ward Committee Members, Youth and Women Formations.
5. Presentation on Section 139(1)(b) Intervention in Tswaing Local Municipality
5.1 The Administrator appointed by the Provincial Department of Local Government and Human Settlement, made a presentation on the constitutional, procedural and substantive matters related to the invocation of section 139(1)(b) in Tswaing Local Municipality. The presentation focused on the introduction, terms of reference of the intervention, status of the intervention, progress report, challenges, action plan and recommendations.
6. Introduction and Background on Intervention
6.1 The Tswaing Local Municipality has been placed under administration with effect from 1st May 2015, for a minimum period of six months to a maximum period of twelve months. This decision was taken by the Bokone Bophirima Provincial Government at an EXCO meeting held on the 29th April 2015. This drastic measure was prompted by the fact the Municipality has been facing serious issues of maladministration, poor governance, poor financial administration and low staff morale, amongst others, which impacted negatively on service delivery.
7. Terms of reference of the Intervention
7.1 The Administrator was assigned to discharge the following functions:
- Assuming executive powers of the council and prioritizing water and sanitation services. This included the facilitation of new projects, unblocking of old projects, maintenance of infrastructure and cleansing.
- Stabilizing and improving the administration of the Municipality.
- Improving the financial controls in the Municipality, expenditure management, procurement process as well as addressing the Auditor-General’s reports.
- Analysing and implementing of past and current investigations, commission of enquiry and forensic audits.
- Dealing with outstanding disciplinary cases, labour disputes, functionality of the Local Labour Forum and instilling a culture of work and discipline amongst the workers.
- Facilitating the improvement of governance within council (council oversight role, relations between council and administration).
- Concluding the disciplinary case of the previously suspended and re-instated managers (develop charges and commence with disciplinary processes).
- Investigating all recently awarded contracts to establish validity and legitimacy thereof and terminate those that are not legitimate in terms of applicable regulations.
- Investigating and taking appropriate action on any transgressions and contraventions to applicable legislations and regulations.
8. Progress Report on Intervention
8.1 The Administrator presented a progress report in respect of the intervention. The presentation focused on financial management, corporate services, institutional, challenges and action plan.
9. Financial Management
9.1 The administration team has engaged the National Treasury on the 10th June 2015 regarding the outstanding equitable share of R12, 3 million which was paid within a week. Eskom was paid R7, 4 million for bulk accounts. All suppliers/creditors were contacted in terms of section 141 of MFMA, notifying them of the financial situation of the Municipality and requesting to enter into six months payment agreement. In an effort to improve the revenue collection, the Municipality appointed a service provider to replace old meters in order to install the new prepaid meter. The Administrator had engaged the rate-payers association to resolve the debacle of non-payment of services by its members of the association.
10. Corporate Services
10.1 The Administrator has resuscitated the functionality of the Local Labour Forum and has conducted onsite visits to all the units across the Municipality, to engage with Unit Managers and the broader staff members. The Municipality has improved relations with organised labour, settled all the labour disputes, reviewed the organizational structure and reviewed human resource related policies.
11.1 The administration has approved the opening of the Licencing and Traffic Department and the necessary renovations. The Municipality has engaged with the residence in cases of illegal occupation of land. The Administrator has submitted reports to the Mayor and the EXCO, relating to the concerns raised around poor public participation and community consultation. In terms of the misuse of council property and non-payment, the administration has identified all relevant persons and opened up engagement with the affected individuals.
12.1 The overall intervention challenges faced by the Municipality included aging electricity infrastructure, completion of capital projects, land invasion, rebuilding the Licencing and Traffic Department, lack of skilled personnel, lack of office space and poor internal control, systems and procedures.
13. Action Plan
13.1 In order to deal with the above-stated intervention challenges, the administration has developed an action plan focusing on audit of the annual financial statements, headcount of staff, recruitment of senior managers and the implementation of revenue enhancement project.
14. Opinion of South African Local Government Association
14.1 The representative of the Association informed the delegation of the Select Committee that SALGA has provided dedicated support to four targeted municipalities in the Province to improve the effectiveness of the oversight and accountability role of MPAC on the 23 June 2015. It coordinated the participation of SALGA in the provincial anti-corruption engagement/activities on the 9 and 12 June 2015. It further facilitated the roll out of MASP to Greater Taung Local Municipality on the 24 April 2015, 28 April 2015 in Ventersdorp and on the 24 April 2015 in Maquassi Hills. It also facilitated the support engagement process with the following municipalities: Tswaing, Ventersdorp and Ngaka Modiri Molema on the 18 and 23 June 2015.
14.2 The representative of the Association requested the NCOP delegation to ensure that the Municipality appoints appropriately skilled and experienced Administrators. It further appeal to the NCOP to apply its collective mind on the appointment of Administrators, especially on the areas of their expertise, profiles and their relevancy against the task assigned to them. The tripartite intergovernmental approach amongst the following: SALGA, CoGTA and Provinces should ensure that the administrators leave behind unquestionable traces of skills to the benefit of the concerned municipalities in their resolve for stabilities.
15. Opinions of Political Parties in the Municipal Council
15.1 The member of the Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted support for the intervention in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution. The DA member raised concerns with regard to lack of municipal skill audit, service delivery and unemployment within the traditional communities.
The member of the African National Congress (ANC) supported the intervention as issued in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution, and further welcomed the progress made by the Administrator.
16. Opinions of Ward Committees Members
16.1 The members of the ward committees supported the intervention. However, they raised concerns with regard to the late payment of stipends, lack of feedback on reports tabled to the Office of the Speaker, lack of skilled personnel and programmes in the Municipality.
17. Opinion of Organised Labour
17.1 The representatives of SAMWU and IMATU welcomed the intervention. The representatives further expressed their positive impression generally with regard to progress made, and specifically with regard to the resuscitation and functionality of the Local Labour Forum.
18. Opinion of the Women Formation
18.1 The representative of the women formation opposed the intervention. They raised concerns about internal political vendetta that resulted to internal uprising, appointment of unqualified officials, lack of programmes on women and non-establishment of a Women’s Desk within the Municipality.
19. Opinion of the Youth Formation
19.1 The representative of the youth formation raised concerns about the preparation of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and public consultation. The representative indicated that the previous Administrator had failed to implement the terms of reference, as agreed with the Provincial Department. Further concerns were raised with regard to irregular appointments in the Office of the Speaker, failure to call community meetings by councillors, non-implementation of projects in extension 17 and 18 and lack of health and safety in extension 8.
20. Select Committee Observations
20.1 Through the interaction of the Select Committee with different stakeholders in Tswaing, it was observed that the Municipality was not communicating and engaging sufficiently with the public, even the ward committees were dysfunctional.
20.2 The Select Committee noted the concerns raised by ward committee members in respect to the reimbursement of ward committee members for out of pocket expenses by the Municipality.
20.3 The National Youth Policy acknowledge the role of local government in youth development by encouraging local government to design mechanisms for the creation of youth development programmes as well as identifying the needs and development opportunities for the youth. The Municipality should take seriously the challenge of youth development in Tswaing and put mechanisms in place in institutionalising youth development. Equally, there is a need for the establishment of a Women’s Desk in the Municipality.
20.4 The Select Committee has observed that the Provincial Department of Local Government and Human Settlement has failed to table a termination report on previous intervention in the Municipality.
20.5 Although the Administrator had developed human resource policies, the developed policies have not yet been tabled to the council for consideration and adoption.
20.6 The Ngaka Modira Molema District Municipality is owing the Municipality a significant amount, and there are no effort or action plan to recover the money due to the Municipality.
20.7 The Select Committee has further observed that the major debtors owning the Municipality per customer group categorization included government, businesses and households.
20.8 Furthermore, the Select Committee has observed that despite the progress made by the Municipality in respect of water and sanitation, the Municipality is still experiencing challenges related to risk of restriction due to non-payment of bulk account as a result of current cash flow pressures.
21.1 Having conducted oversight visit and interacted with the internal and external stakeholders of the Municipality, the Select Committee recommends to the NCOP as follows:
21.1.1 The NCOP approves the intervention in Tswaing Local Municipality in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
21.1.2 The Administrator should fast-track the process of appointing skilled personnel, in order to facilitate the transfer of skills and to ensure continuity and stability in the Municipality.
21.1.3 The Administrator should resuscitate and provide public participation mechanisms in the municipal decision-making processes.
21.1.4 National Treasury, together with the North West Department of Local Government and Human Settlement should assist the Municipality in recovering the outstanding money owed to it by the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, for services provided on behalf of the District.
21.1.5 National and Provincial Department of Local Government and Human Settlement should continuously provide section 154(1) support to the Municipality, which should be of a collaborative nature between the spheres of government.
21.1.6 The North West MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements should table quarterly progress reports to the NCOP and the Provincial Legislature on the status of the intervention in the Municipality, including the termination of the intervention report.
Report to be considered.
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