ATC190219: Report of the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Inspection Loco on Notice of Intervention issued in Terms of Section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution in Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality, dated 19 February 2019
Report of the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Inspection Loco on Notice of Intervention issued in Terms of Section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution in Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality, dated 19 February 2019
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 Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution, the Select Committee reports as follows:
1.2 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 Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), to the Select Committee for consideration and reporting. On 1st February 2019, the delegation of the Select Committee conducted a loco inspection in Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality.
2. Objective of the Loco Inspection in Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality
2.1 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 invocation of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
3. Composition of the Delegation
3.1 The Select Committee delegation was composed of the following Members of Parliament and officials: (ANC); Hon T Wana, Eastern Cape (ANC); (ANC); Hon G Oliphant, Northern Cape (ANC); Hon D Ximbi, Western Cape (ANC); Hon E Matame Limpopo (ANC); Mr TM Manele, Committee Secretary (Committee Section), Mr B Mahlangeni, Researcher (Research Unit) and Mr N Mfuku, content advisor (Committee Section)
4. General Overview of the Loco Inspection at Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality
4.1 On 1st February 2019, the delegation of the Select Committee interacted with senior officials of the Department of CoGTA, representatives of the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters, representative of the South African Local Government Association and forums representing youth and women in construction
4.2. The departmental official made a presentation on the constitutional, procedural and substantive reasons for the intervention. The representatives of the political parties and Organised Labour, shared their opinions with regard to the intervention as tabled by the MEC for CoGTA.
5. Presentation by Department of CoGTA
5.1. The head of the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs briefed the delegation of the select committee on constitutional, procedural and substantive matters related to the intervention. The presentation on the substantive matters related to the invocation of the intervention focused on service delivery, governance and financial management
6. Service delivery instability
6.1. Service delivery collapse in the municipality due to lack of maintenance of particular water and sanitation infrastructure, case in point was the Groot-Marico Waste Water Treatment Plant
6.2. The municipality experienced overflow sewer and water supply interruption. There is no technical capacity to manage infrastructure planning and delivery of services
6.3. The ESKOM debt continued to grow due to inability to honour payment agreement and this resulted to a potential risk that adversely affected the supply of electricity to the community
7. Governance and administration instability
7.1. The municipality experienced council instability characterised by the suspension of the speaker and failure to resolve on the implementation of forensic investigation and failure to adopt the budget and integrated development planning within prescribed timelines
7.2. Lack of administrative capacity due to vacant position of senior management including that of the municipal manager. The recruitment process of the municipal manager remains a concern as he resigned within six months without any notice
7.3. the council appointed acting municipal manager who does not meet the minimum requirements with respect to qualification and senior management experiences
8. Finance management instability
8.1. The municipality experienced cash decline within two years from R18 million in 2014/15 to R2 million in 2016.2017
8.2. The municipality’s electricity losses remain high at R8.7. million and did not disclose its water losses in the annual financial statement for both 2015/2016 and 2016/17 and cited the reason of purchasing water that is not metered from a farm
8.3. The municipality approved funded budget for 2014/15, unfunded budget for 2015.16, 2016/17 due to cash flow constrains (projected expenditure exceeds the anticipated revenue), unrealistic revenue projects, and inability to pay outstanding creditors
9. Progress Report on the Status of the Intervention in the Local Municipality
9.1. The administrator has presented the intervention report to the municipal council and was adopted on 18 November 2018. The municipality has managed to appoint three section 56 managers such as Chief Financial Officer, Director Planning and Local Economic Development and Director of Planning and Community Services
9.2. The major service delivery progress reported relate to completion of the Coligny water treatment plant, unblocking of sewages; completion of waste treatment plant in Lichtenburg, payment of creditors,
9.3. The governance progress reported included the improvement of governance within the municipal council, stabilization and improvement of governance and administration, provision of intervention plans and reports and scheduling of portfolio committees to consider and adopt reports.
9.4. Despite the progress reported, the major challenges facing the municipality relate to resignation of the municipal manager, negative audit opinion and lack of capacity to deal with, lack of audit committee and internal audit capacity, connivance and sabotage by some officials, security threats hampering the smooth operations of the municipality and involvement of senior managers in business and neglecting their responsibilities
10. Opinions of Political Parties and Stakeholders of the Municipality
10.1 During loco-inspection, the Select Committee interacted and solicited opinions of the political parties, internal and external stakeholders of the Municipality. Their opinions are tabled below:
11. Opinion of the African National Congress (ANC)
11.1 The representative of the ANC indicated that the municipal council has acknowledged the PEC’s decision to invoke section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution. The representative further acknowledged the progress made by the administrator and then recommended the extension of the period of the administrator so as to complete outstanding intervention matters in accordance with the terms of references.
12. Opinion of the Democratic Alliance (DA)
12.1 The representative of the DA tabled an opinion that supported the intervention. However, the representative raised concerns with regard to lack of service delivery; water supply, lack of support from the district municipality, political infighting and interference in administration, senior officials failing the council more especially on matters dealing with municipal budgeting, officials involvement in corruption. The representative further recommended for the extension of the term of office of the administrator by six months
13. Opinion of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
13.1 The representative of the Economic Freedom Fighters tabled an opinion that supported the intervention, and further raised concerns with regard to lack of cooperation and working together ward councillors and the rural nature of the local municipality inhibiting revenue collection and improvement of the financial capability of the municipality
14. Opinion of Agang South African
14.1. The representative of Agang South Africa tabled the opinion that welcomed and supported the invocation of the intervention. However, the representative raised concerns with regard to non- sitting of the council meeting, absence of the role of the Mayor during the municipal budgeting process and lack of monitoring on the performance of the Administrator by the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs
14. Opinion of South African Local Government Association
14.1. The representative of the South African Local Government Association tabled opinion that welcomed and supported the invocation of section 173 (1) (b) of the Constitution. The representative emphasized with the framework of intergovernmental relation the need to ensure that at both political and technical level, there is a platform for common understanding and approach to the issuing of interventions in the municipalities.
15. Opinion of Organised Labour and Ward Committee Members
15.1. The representative of South African Municipal Workers Union tabled opinion that welcomed and supported the issuing of intervention in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution. The representative, however, raised concerns with regard to non-functioning of local labour forum, lack of progress on the review of organisational structure, safety of workers. The union representative then emphasised the importance of working together with the administrator and the need to ensure functionality of local labour forum
15.2. The representative of IMATU tabled the opinion that support and welcome the invocation of section 139 (1) (b) of the constitution. The union representative raised concerns with regard to following of illegitimate processes and procedures by senior management
15.4. The representative of the ward committee members tabled opinion that support the intervention. The major concerns raised by the representative relate to payment of stipend, non-functionality of ward committee’s forums. The representative recommended that workshops should be conducted to capacitate ward committee members
16. Opinion External Stakeholders
16. 1 The representative of the Youth Forum tabled the opinion that support the invocation of section 139 (1) (b) of the constitution. However, the youth representative raised concerns about lack of youth programmes, absence of youth desk in the office of the mayor and lack of support for youth in sports and arts.
16.2. The representative of Women Forum tabled the opinion that negate the invocation of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution. Concerns were raised with regard to lack of municipal programmes to support local economic development, lack of service delivery, lack of women projects, non –communication of the terms of reference of the administrator and tempering of the service provision.
17. Select Committee Observations and Opinion
17.1 In terms of the constitutional and procedural matters, the Select Committee has observed that the National Minister for CoGTA, the NCOP, the North West Provincial Legislature and the Municipality were notified of the intervention about the substantive matters related to the invocation of section 137 of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
17.2 The Select Committee has also noted general concerns raised by stakeholders on matters related to absence of youth desk in the municipality, lack of capacity of some of the ward committee members, non-functionality of local labour forum, lack of monitoring of the performance of the administrator.
18. Recommendations of the Select Committee
18.1 Having conducted the oversight visit to Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality and interacted with members of African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighter, Agang South African and representatives of the Organised Labour, Youth, Women, Ward Committee Members and South African Local Government Association, the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs recommends as follows:
18.1.1 The NCOP approves the intervention in Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution
18.1.2 The Administrator should fast-tract the process of implementing the municipal turn-around plan, in accordance with the terms of reference assigned by the North West MEC for CoGTA.
18.1.3 The Administrator should ensure that the municipal turn- around plan improve and provide solution raised on matters related to non-functioning of local labour forum, absence of youth desk in the municipality and capacity of the ward committee members.
18.1.4 The North West MEC for CoGTA should conduct Forensic Investigation on Supply Chain Management and table report to the National Council of Provinces
18.1.5 The North West MEC for CoGTA should table quarterly progress report to the NCOP on the status of the intervention in the Municipality; including challenges encountered.
18.1.6 The Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, in co-operation with the relevant Portfolio Committee in North West State Provincial Legislature, should in future conduct a follow-up oversight visit to the Municipality in order to evaluate the progress made in respect of the intervention in the Municipality.
Report to be considered.
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