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 Maqhuassi Hills 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 Maqhuassi Hills 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 Maquassi Hills 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 Maquassi Hills Local Municipality.
2. Objective of the Loco Inspection in Maqaussi Hills 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), Mr P Bongco, Committee Assistant, Committee Section and Mr M Mbebe, Procedural Officer, NCOP
4. General Overview of the Inspection Loco at Maguassi Hills Local Municipality
4.1 On 31 January 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), Service Delivery Forum, representative of the South African Local Government Association and forums representing youth and Business
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 on Municipal Service Delivery, Governance and Financial Management
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 focused on municipal instability related service delivery, governance and financial management
6. Service delivery and reasons for intervention
6.1 Service delivery adversely affected by lack of operation and maintenance of waste and waste treatment plants
6.2. Lack of maintenance of waste management plan and poor maintenance of landfill sites
6.3. Poor water conservation and demand management strategies
7 Governance and reasons for intervention
7.1. Instability of the council characterised by infighting that led to failure to appoint senior management
7.2. Lack of stability and high level of infighting within the public accounts committee and lack of support from the council
7.3. Municipal backlog of oversight reports on annual reports from the 2008/2009 financial year to date. The public committee has accused its chairperson of being biased and lack proper leadership
7.4. Non- implementation of the forensic investigation recommendation
8. Finance management and reasons for intervention
8.1. The municipality embedded with irregularities within the supply chain management
8.2. lack of consequence management with the municipality with led to annual increase of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditures
8.3. Outstanding municipal investigation initiated by the presidential proclamation conducted by the special investigation unit on alleged irregularities in Supply Chain Management unit
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. However, the member of the ANC raised concerns with regard to ill- discipline, and high level of corruption.
11.2. The ANC representatives further acknowledged the progress made by the administrator on matters related appointment of senior managers and improvement and stabilization of the municipal council.
12. Opinion of the Democratic Alliance (DA)
12.1 The representative of the Democratic Alliance tabled an opinion that supported the intervention. However, concerns were raised with regard to political interference in administration, high level of nepotism, revenue collection, officials not performing their administrative duties, problems related to service delivery. The representative further emphasised the importance of working together and follow proper administrative and legislative procedures and processes.
13. Opinion of the Service Delivery Forum
13.1 The representative of the Service Delivery Forum tabled an opinion that supported the intervention. However, concerns were raised with regard to absence of the Mayor in the municipality, lack of leadership, members of the public barred from attending council meetings, high level of litigations, lack of commitment from the office of the Mayor.
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 13 (1) (b) of the constitution.
14.2. 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
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.
15.2. The representative, however, raised concerns with regard to non-advertisement of vacant posts, senior officials instigating some municipal workers to embark on strikes, senior managers not cooperative with auditors from the Office of Auditor-General, high level of corruption, lack of tools of trade for municipal workers.
15.2. The union representative further recommended that the Administrator should conduct forensic investigation and submit the final report to the National Council of Provinces.
16. Opinion External Stakeholders
16. 1 The representative of Youth Forum tabled the opinion that support the invocation of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution. However, the Youth representative raised concerns that related to the involvement of and influence of council members to protests taking place within the municipality. The Youth representative made allegation about the role of some business community members funding municipal workers to be involve in protests.
16.2. The representative of the Business Forum tabled the opinion that support the invocation of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution. However, concerns were raised with regard to lack youth centres, involvement of senior officials in tendering process and doing business with the municipality.
16.3. The representative of the local South African National Civic Association tabled the opinion that support the notice of intervention issued in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the constitution. The major concerns raised by the representative relate to non-implementation of the recommendations of the Auditor-General, high litigations, non-provision of basic services, councillors failing to provide support to the community, councillors benefiting from the tender process of the municipality
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 the concerns raised by stakeholders on matters related to high level of corruption, instigation of municipal employees by some senior officials to embark of protests. The select committee has further noted with concern the allegation on non-cooperation of senior officials to the work of auditors representing the Auditor-General and councillors benefiting from the municipal tendering process and system
18. Recommendations of the Select Committee
18.1 Having conducted the oversight visit to Maquassi Hills Local Municipality and interacted with members of African National Congress, the democratic party and representatives of, the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs recommends as follows:
18.1.1 The NCOP approves the intervention in Maquassi 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 to conduct forensic investigation on all the allegation of corruption, non- cooperation of senior officials to comply with the auditing requirements and cooperation with the auditors from the office of the Auditor-General. The Administrator should also ensure that the forensic investigation include in its scope the allegation of councillors involvement in municipal tendering processes and system.
18.1.4 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.
18.1.5. The North West MEC for CoGTA should after completion, table the forensic investigation report to the National Council of Provinces
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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