ATC201105: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on Oversight Visit to Gauteng Province, 12 - 16 October 2020
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO GAUTENG PROVINCE, 12 - 16 OCTOBER 2020.
The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (PC on COGTA), having conducted an oversight visit to Gauteng Province, from 12 to 16 October 2020, reports as follows.
The Portfolio Committee on COGTA, herein referred after as the Committee, conducted an oversight visit to Gauteng Province in relation to City of Tshwane Metropolitan municipality, and Emfuleni local municipality. The Committee had initially included Ekurhuleni local municipality in its program but due to time constraints, the Ekurhuleni municipality visit was postponed to a future date. The focus of the oversight was to oversee, and gain insights into the state of these municipalities in respect of:
- Implementation of section 139 of the Constitution;
- Negative findings by Auditor General –South Africa (AGSA), with particular focus on the financial year ending in June 2019;
- Being identified as a municipality in distress by the Department of Cooperative Governance in terms of the Back to Basics methodology;
- As a follow up on previous engagements with these municipalities; and
- Affirming the institution of traditional leadership as an integral part of municipal and cooperative governance.
- Terms of reference
The oversight activities of the Committee were informedby provisions of both Section 55(2) and Section 56 of the Constitution. Section 56 of the Constitution provides that “The National Assembly or any of its committees may - (a) summon any person to appear before it to give evidence on oath or affirmation, or to produce documents; (b) require any person or institutionto report to it, and (c) receive petitions, representations or submissions from any interested persons or institutions.”
The Committee focussed on ascertaining information in relation tomunicipal institutional capacity, good governance, financial viability and management, basic service delivery, adherence to provisions of the Disaster Management Act, and availability of post Covid-19 economic recovery plans.
The Committee adopted an oversight schedule that entailed briefing sessions with municipalities, national and provincial COGTA, Gauteng Treasury, Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Traditional Leadership (including delegates from the National and Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders), stakeholder engagements and site visits.
- Objectives of the oversight visiting to Gauteng Municipalities
The oversight visits in Gautengspecifically sought to-
- Evaluate the current state of the identified municipalities which have either been placed under administrative intervention in terms of section 139 of the Constitution, or deemed in distress in term of the Back to Basics methodology, and those that had received negative findings by the AGSA, especially in respect of the previous financial year.
- Evaluate progress attained as follow up on previous engagements with the municipalities.
- Engage with traditional leaders on issues affecting traditional leadership and as follow up on resolutions emanating from the Traditional Leadership Indaba hosted by the Committee.
- Engage with relevant stakeholders on the state of the identified municipalities.
- Engage with petitioners about contents and progress in resolving issues raised in the petition.
- Composition of the Delegation
- Committee members.
The Portfolio Committee delegation was composed of the following Members of Parliament: Hon AF Muthambi (Chairperson: ANC); Hon GG Mpumza (ANC); Hon BMHadebe (ANC); Hon Inkosi Luthuli (IFP);Hon K Ceza (EFF) and Hon C Brink (DA).
Apologies: Hon DD Direko (ANC); Hon MM Tlou (ANC); Hon PP Xaba-Ntshaba (ANC); Hon MH Hoosen (DA); Hon HO Mkhaliphi (EFF)
- Committee support officials:
Ms S Cassiem (Committee Secretary: Committee Section); Mr N Mangweni (Committee Secretary: Committee Section); Ms T Mpapela (Content Adviser: Committee Section); Mr A Sokomani(Acting Content Advisor and Researcher);Mr M Erasmus (Committee Assistant: Committee Section); Mr M Molepo (Parliamentary Communications).
- COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS
- Meeting with the MECs for Human settlement, Urban planning and Cogta, and Finance and e-Government
On 12 October 2020, the MEC for Finance and e- Government in the Province, Ms N. Nkomo-Ralehoko, in collaboration with the MEC for Human Settlements, Urban planning and COGTA, as represented by HOD, Mr B. Gxilishe, made a joint presentation that summarised the state of municipalities in the Province, and support provided, with particular emphasis on those municipalities featuring on the Committee’s oversight programme. The presentations also highlighted key challenges facing municipalities, which include:
- Prevalence of protest actions
- Government debt
- Growing number of dysfunctional municipalities.
- Lack of accountability and inadequate consequence management
- Shortage of capacity within certain municipalities
- Governance related challenges
- Land invasion
- Negative effect of Covid-19
The MEC for Finance and e- Government reported on establishment of a task team by Gauteng provincial government to address the issue of government debt. The MEC conveyed the province’s commitment to prioritize government debt and ensure that all government departments pay municipalities on time. The MEC also alluded to the negative impact of Covid-19 on revenue collection by Gauteng municipalities, and how the municipalities are now implementing measures to increase revenue collection.
Councillor Stofile, represented SALGA, commended the establishment of a task team to prioritize government debt, but also cautioned of delaying tactics usually employed by departments by disputing the amount owed thus delaying payment. SALGA also addressed the clumsiness by provincial department of Human settlement, Urban planning and COGTA in implementation of section 139 in some municipalities without any appropriate consultation with all relevant stakeholders
- Members’ observations and concerns
The Members observed as follows:
- Tender irregularities, inflated prices, and irregular expenditure were prevalent within Gauteng municipalities, and municipalities not publicising supply chain management performance reports for public scrutiny and accountability.
- Governance breeches in appointment of administrators for municipalities under section 139, for example appointment of a municipal employee as an administrator for the same municipality.
- Failure to consult and engage SALGA before implementation of section 139 on municipalities suggested an IGR system that has broken down completely.
- Credit worthiness of City of Tshwane due to allegations of being downgraded as well as the resignations of administrators, which reduced the original number of ten to six.
- Provincial Treasury constraints due to not exercising direct oversight over the City Tshwane due to non-delegation, and thus unable to intervene in respect of the credit downgrade.
- Gauteng Municipalities to deal with customers who access water services illegally
- Municipalities to intervene on challenges facing informal settlements and backyard dwellers.
- Provincial Government to conduct an assessment to determine the effectiveness of section 139 on ailing municipalities, particularly in light of the fact that these has made virtually no difference.
- Councillors in arrears and owing municipalities and efforts employed to recoup money owed.
- Challenges related to filling of vacancies in Gauteng municipalities like rural municipalities, and root cause for this unexpected similarity should be identified.
- Huge legal costs and UIFW without any effective consequence management in place.
- Illegal connections, protests, and aging infrastructure prevalence within Gauteng municipalities.
- Quality of support provided by Provincial department of Finance and COGTAin improving audit outcomes should be shared with other provinces.
- Selling of RDP houses by municipality employees and no reported consequence management for implicated employees.
- The billing by Eskom considered improper.
- Meeting on the State of City of Tshwane MetropolitanMunicipality.
6.1 Site visit and engagements with Nemalpius community.
On 13 August 2020, the Committee visited the Nemalpius community in response to a petition sent to the Committee. The Committee had addressed the petition via a virtual platform meeting and all stakeholders were represented. The purpose of visit on the day was to gauge progress in relation to responses given by the municipality. On the day of the visit other relevant stakeholders which were not part of the virtual meeting were afforded an opportunity to input on the petition.
The Committee started by conducting a visit to the community to view the state of housing to determine the issues as addressed on the original petition, and later convened a stakeholder engagement with the petitioners and respondent stakeholders.
Community members voiced their dissatisfaction in respect to the speed at which the municipality takes in handling their issues, the community raised quite a number of issues, but wanted the intervention of the committee inrespect to the provision of electricity in their houses which they got about 5 years ago. They also reported on plumbing problems in the built houses, transportation challenges, roads infrastructure, and intimidation tactics by a former ward councillor.
The community members further detailed the negative impact of lack of electricity on their lives and these include the following:
- High crime rate as community members are robbed and raped at night due to darkness in the area, an issue also compounded by lack of refuse removal in area creating a situation for opportunistic crimes.
- Deteriorating relations with neighbourhood informal settlement which was established after the Nemalpius community but already has access to electricity.
- In their presentation the community raised with emphasis the issues of electrification of the houses that were built 5 years ago, and the fact that the community in question is comprised mostly of persons living with disabilities.
- As result of non-electrification students are required to pay to charge their laptops, and in cases where students do not have money to pay for charging their laptops students were not able to attend virtual classes during lock down.
- The community further raised the precarious conditions in which they find themselves in as result of non-electrification, for example burning down of some houses due to use of candles, thus endangering lives of children and those people living with disabilities.
- Some community members had to use cooler boxes to store their medication so that it does not become poisonous.
- There were allegations of illegal sale of RDP houses by councillors.
- A councillor, named Jewel Masilela, was intimidating and threatening the life of Ma Thandiwe - the owner of the house, which the Portfolio Committee visited. This is after she had exposed the councillor’s underhand activities.
The community members concluded by informing the Committee that their main concern was the lack of responsiveness and feedback by the City of Tshwane.
- City of Tshwane Metropolitan responses.
The City of Tshwane responded by acknowledging successes and challenges in relation to the Nemalpius community. The official reported that the Nemalpius community was established as a mega project low cost housing scheme with planneddifferent phases of the building to be implemented in various stages. The City reported that before completion of all phases, community members occupied some of the houses illegally, and this compelled the City to allocate houses before installation of electricity and other amenities. The City also reported that there were also challenges related to the contractor which further delayed full completion of the building phases.
The City of Tshwane made the following undertakings:
- Will engage Treasury about the public employment programme to look at opportunities to accommodate persons living with disabilities.
- Will address the issue of illegal dumping and engage with community about waste management strategies.
- Will address the issue of a police station with relevant stakeholders.
- Provincial Department of Human Settlement.
The official representing the Provincial Department of Human Settlements, reported that the Nemalpius project was planned as an integrated human settlement mega project, with each departmentexpected to play a role in the construction of related amenities. For example, the department of education was expected to take over the building of schools, while municipality was playing its expected role as per its mandate. The official admitted that the department of Human Settlements made an error by attempting to do everything without involving other critical stakeholders, thus the failure in Nemalpius community.
The official reported that they had penalised the contractor for its part in breakdown of the contractual obligations, and further promised that there is a new contract in place but was delayed from resuming duties by Covid-19 lockdown. They also reported that the original contractor was not entirely responsible for the delays, and, this had prompted the Head of Department to seek legal opinion in getting out of the contract which had further delayed the appointment of a new contractor.The department of Human settlement promised to engage regularly with the Nemalpius community in terms of progress and challenges.
- Members observations
Members made the following observations:
- Concerned about the handling of challenges related to the contractor for the Nemalpius building project by the City of Tshwane, as well as lack of consequence management for breach of contract by the contractor including not adhering to 30% beneficiation for local community.
- The City of Tshwane should avail the building master plan detailing all the phases of the Nemalpius project.
- The allocation of houses without appropriate infrastructure including being responsive to needs of person living with disabilities regarded as grossviolation of human rights of communities.
- Lack of sense of urgency by different stakeholders in addressing the concerns of the Nemalpius community regarded as contrary to the principles of a developmental and responsive public service.
- Testament to the neglect of the Nemalpius community was the fact that the Department of Human Settlements could not identify the houses at issue, until the Portfolio Committee had to come and show it.
- Human Settlements should not have allowed occupation of the houses in Ext 22, if measures for electricity provision were not yet in place. It was inconceivable how the development proceeded without meeting the minimum requirements for basic electricity provision.
- There were questions around the role of ward councillors and Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) in respect of the Ext 22 matter.
- The fact that residents of Ext 22 have gone without electricity for years while the new informal settlement in the neighbourhood has not, was dividing the community and creating unnecessary tensions.
- The Provincial Department of Settlements needed to improve its contract management processes, as some of the experienced problems in Ext 22 resulted from poor contracts management.
- Waste management was a serious challenge in Nemalpius, which even extended to the Tshwane CBD.
- The role of the City of Tshwane Metro Police in terms of enforcing by-laws needed reconsideration given the policing challenges in Nemalpius.
- City of Tshwane administrator.
One of the administrators at City of Tshwane acknowledged coordination weaknesses between various stakeholders but agreed to ensure regular feedback and communication with the community. He further promised to ensure that the new contractor adheresto 30% localisation of labour.
6.2 Site visit water treatment plan.
The Committee had wanted to visit a waste water treatment plant in Rooivaal where there are identified challenges in relation to inability by this plant to effectively treat water as licenced, leading to presence of chemicals and other pollutants in water, rendering it unsafe for human consumption. It was reported that chemicals used to treat water are not supposed to be on water released to Hammanskraal water purification plant, but due to inability of the Rooivaalwastewater treatment plant, chemicals are found in water. Resolving the problems at Rooival would cost approximately R2.2bn and yet the City’s total capital budget only amounted to R568m.
It was further advanced that the Themba water purification plant is unable to purify a certain quality of water provided, of which the Rooivaalwastewater treatment is unable to produce leading to unsafe domestic water.Several reasons for the challenges related to Rooivaalwastewater treatment plant were furnished including, inability by the plant to meet the demand thus necessitating upgrading, financial challenges for the upgrading and high cost of refurbishment of the plant.Finances were at the core of the problem as the City’s budget allocations did not prioritise upgrading of the plant. Upgrades have been unsystematic and ad hoc. There was a master plan but it had no resourcing.
6.2.1 Members observations
The main problems were at the Rooival Waste Water Treatment Plant, and not at the Themba Water Purification Plant. The municipality therefore should have guided the Portfolio Committee to an oversight visit to the former. However, due to time constraints the Portfolio Committee could not proceed to Rooival.
6.3 City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality
The Committee convened at the City of Tshwane Council Chamber to get a briefing about progress report. In outlining the purpose, the Chairperson conveyed the Committee’s interest in ensuring effective oversight over provision of services to poor communities. She further reminded the City of Tshwane about promises made during a prior engagement with the City, including commitment to ensure uninterrupted provision of services and finding immediate solutions to the water problems. The Chairperson also made observations about the City in relation to its state of cleanliness and roads conditions. She noted the appalling filth in some of the streets and illegal dumbing in the central business district of the City.
6.3.1 City of Tshwane presentation
The Lead Administrator, Mr Nawa presented on behalf of the City of Tshwane municipality. His presentation focussed on progress in implementation of terms of reference for the section 139 intervention, update on post Covid-19 economic recovery plan,delivery of basic services, financial management and supply chain performance. The presentation included progress and challenges currently faced as a Municipality under section 139 of the Constitution.
SALGA voiced displeasure in not being consulted during the implementation of section 139(1)(c) in City of Tshwane municipality. SALGA expressed concern about a growing number of municipalities in Gauteng Province being placed under administration in terms of section 139 of the Constitution and, implored the provincial government to undertake a diagnostic assessment of all municipalities before invoking section 139.SALGA also expressed concern about ongoing challenges within the City despite being under section 139.
- National Department of COGTA
In addressing the state of the City of Tshwane, the representative from the national department of COGTA addressed concerns in relation to litigations, exit strategy in place to prepare to ending of intervention, lack of oversight due to absence of MPAC as a result of dissolution of council, and, tensions between the administrators and core teams within the municipality. The representative further urged that all challenges experienced should be addressed through the DDM.
- Members observations
Members observed as follows:
- Weakness of IGR within the Provincial government as evidenced by failure to consult SALGA about implementation of section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution on the City of Tshwane municipality. This has country-wide implications.
- Provincial Government need to recognise and acknowledge the ineffectiveness and failure of section 139 interventions, as the City of Tshwane has been downgraded as a result.
- City of Tshwane intervention viewed as problematic due to political and legal contestation that characterised the implementation of section 139 in this municipality.
- Publicising SCM performance reports would provide some measure of oversight in the absence of MPAC.
- Concerns raised about state of shelters housing the homeless within the Gauteng as well as hijacking of those shelters by criminal gangs.
- Shortfalls in revenue collection, underspending on OPEX, use of consultants and irregularities in Covid-19 expenditures also cited as concerning.
- Lack of transformation in ensuring gender equality within the City of Tshwane pointed out as a matter to be addressed.
- Neglected communities, unmet service delivery targets, halting of projects, poverty, and inequality still prevalent.
- Not prioritising the resourcing of the master plan for upgrading of Thembawastewater treatment plant.
- Consequence management for smart prepaid infrastructure project.
- Measures in place to deal with illegal dumping, solid waste management as well as functionality of the disaster management centre.
- Members wanted clarity about four (04) administrators that have left the City.
- Members requested information on powers of administrators in disciplining staff members within the City of Tshwane.
- Members also noted an anomaly in Tshwane where the position of the Chief Operations Officer (COO) was on the same level as the Chief Audit Executive (CAE).
- Stakeholder engagement
On 14 October 2020, the Committee interacted with stakeholders on the state of the City of Tshwane. Only two stakeholders were available, and they provided input as detailed below.
6.4.1 Resident Property Association of Attridgeville
The Chairperson of the association, Alfred Khazamulainformed the Committee about the impact of suspension of City of Tshwane Council on residents, as it further derailed response to their petition that was submitted to the Premier of Gauteng as far back as 2017. The Chairperson shared with the Committee contents of the petition, and further urged the Committee to address their issues as it pertains to land occupation, failed development in Attridgeville, forced evictions, as well as access to basic services.
Pastor Sithole addressed the Committee about advantages of partnering with churches in implementation of developmental programmes to benefit communities. Pastor Sithole also advocated for credibility of churches in administering community funds in a manner that benefits communities. He further provided that government partnership with churches would have maximum impact, development, transformation and outreach as the churches are within communities.
- Members’ observations
Members made the following observations:
- City of Tshwane to urgently address the land issue as it is an emotive issue that can escalate to uncontrollable negative proportions.
- Appreciated the offer of partnership with religious leaders towards integrated community development, but voiced concern about abuse of congregants by certain churches.
- The Portfolio Committee will consider resuming its programme on the Religious Leaders Indaba and the pastor is welcome to submit contributions.
- Engagement with Traditional leadership
The Gauteng Province Traditional Leadership were not represented, and as such engagement were with the representatives from the national House of traditional leaders.
- The state of Emfuleni Municipality
On 14 October 2020, the Committee visited Emfuleni local municipality. The Chairperson outlined the purpose of the visit as a response to:
- Poor state of Emfuleni local municipality in terms of governance, financial management and service delivery.
- Frequent community protests rendering the municipality and area “a no go zone”
- Ailing and collapsing infrastructure
- Water and sewage challenges
- Fallout with the Chinese on the smart prepaid meter project
- Default judgement against the Emfuleni municipality
- Freezing of the municipality main account
- Being under section 139 for the past two years while challenges are escalating.
6.5.1 Provincial Department of Human Settlement, Urban Planning and COGTA.
Provincial COGTA representative, Mr Gxilishe, gave a background and provided the context for challenges in relation to section 139 interventions in Emfuleni municipality. He cited disagreement between the national and provincial department of COGTA with regards to interventions in Emfuleni municipality.
He further assured the Committee that the current section 139 intervention at Emfuleni was more focussed and correctly implemented and as such has managed to lead to some progress. Progress registered because of the current section 139 include, Council meeting regularly, development of financial recovery plan, establishment of work streams, regular monitoring, and decrease in community protests.
Mr Gxilishe informed the Committee that the current section 139 intervention which started on June 2020 was focussed around three areas, namely, supply chain management, finance, and infrastructure. The administrators are deployed for 12 months and are expected to report on progress on a weekly basis. As part of ongoing monitoring, the MEC also regularly engages with the Mayoral Committee.
6.5.2 Gauteng Provincial Treasury
The Provincial Treasury reported of good relationship with the provincial department of Human Settlement, Urban Planning and COGTA and their involvement and participation in the development of the financial recovery plan.
The Provincial Treasury also reported on support given to Emfuleni municipality which includes support in preparation of its budget, data integrity, data recovery, and ongoing engagements with regards to government debt. The Provincial Treasury also mentioned efforts aimed at lobbying for financial support to sort out the Vaal dam related issues.
- National Department of COGTA
The national department of COGTA representative outlined support given to Emfuleni local municipality and urged stakeholders to have impactful engagements through DDM and work towards a functional municipality. The national department of COGTA also promised to upscale its support to Emfuleni municipality.
SALGA’s view on Emfuleni was that there must be cooperation and coordination by all key stakeholders, as well as strict adherence to governance instruments. SALGA also informed the Committee, about not being consulted before the implementation of section 139, and non- involvement in the development of the financial recovery plan.
SALGA also reported on engagements with the HOD which have just started and hoped to have meaningful agreements and working together towards more proactive support to Emfuleni local municipality. SALGA urged all stakeholders within the DDM to bring all the necessary resources and efforts that will assist the municipality address its challenges.
- The progress report by Lead Administrator in Emfuleni local municipality.
The Lead Administrator reported on progress achieved with regards to terms of references for the section 139 intervention in Emfuleni local municipality. The report also included the weekly monitoring and reporting to ensure continuous progress. The Lead Administrator report included progress in revenue enhancement, progress in supply chain management, expenditure management, governance and institutional management, basic service delivery, communication and stakeholder engagement, and human settlements and infrastructure projects.
The Lead Administrator also detailed the challenges related to the BFX/OLE (Chinese smart prepaid project) including details of the default judgement against Emfuleni municipality which led to freezing of the municipality’s main account.
- Members observations and concerns
Members were concerned about the following in connection with Emfuleni localmunicipality.
- Handling of the Chinese smart prepaid project leading to default judgement against the Emfuleni Municipality, which occurred despite the municipality being under a repurposed intervention.
- Freezing of Emfuleni municipality main bank account.
- Wasting of two years on an intervention deemed wrong before the current section 139 intervention, whether any diagnostic assessment was conducted including adherence to legislative requirements before implementing the first section 139.
- Concerns about service delivery strategy that is not yet approved, and whether the Emfuleni Council is committed in turning the situation around.
- Stakeholder engagement
On 15 October 2020, the Committee interacted with stakeholders on the state of Emfuleni local municipality. The stakeholders reported as follows:
- Vanderbijlpark Community Association (VCA)- reported on history of conflict between the community and the Emfuleni local municipality caused by lack of service delivery by the municipality and flawed billing system implemented. The VCA reported on a decision by communities to stop paying for services as a measure to compel the municipality to engage on issues related to lack of provision of services which include electricity failures, sewage spillage, Vaal dam challenges, waste management challenges, water interruptions, tender irregularities, non-payment of local service providers, fraud and corruption and lack of political will and leadership shown by the Emfuleni local municipality.
- South African Women in Construction- Vaal- the representative conveyed dissatisfaction with the Emfuleni municipality in terms of service delivery, flawed billing system, lack of communication with the community and ignoring repeated invitations to engage with the municipality management, lack of accountability, tender irregularities benefitting a select few individuals, and appointment of un-qualifying service providers who are not from within the Vaal district. The Lead Administrator Willy Bhila was neither visible nor accessible and it was the first time to see him in a meeting. The lack of implementation in respect to recommendations from the Comperio Report was a major concern.
- Chamber of Commerce- Vaal- The Vaal Chamber of Commerce reported on the negative impact of interruptions of service delivery on the local businesses. The Vaal Chamber of Commerce also reported of support offered to the Emfuleni municipality, which it declined, to assist in implementation of some local economic initiatives on behalf of the municipality. The Vaal chamber of commerce reported that the Emfuleni local municipality does not support local businesses as payments are delayed and preference is given to outside service providers. The Vaal chamber of commerce also accused the Emfuleni municipality as being characterised by factional fighting, arrogance of leadership, and only prioritising payment of councillor’s salaries.
- Community resident- Ward committee memberreported on electricity challenges including daily interruptions, exposed electricity cables and transformer posing danger to communities, lack of safety equipment and tools for official working with electricity, non- maintenance of electricity infrastructure, and illegal connections. The ward committee member related how municipality officials borrow tools and equipment from community members to carry out repair functions on municipality infrastructure. The other reported challenges include non-implementation of by-laws, hijacking of vacant buildings by criminal gangs and flawed billing system.
- Ward Councillor- FF+ reported on several violations by the Emfuleni municipality Council and refusal to take advice offered. The FF+ councillor reported on threatening of councillors within the council without any consequence management by the Speaker of council. In addition to ill-treatment of councillors, a report on death of an employee who drowned in sewage due to lack of proper safety equipment while working alone in a two-man station has reportedly contributed to low staff morale. The lack of commitment by the Emfuleni municipal council in procuring safety equipment and tools for employees both pre and post Covid-19 has left employees and councillors not feeling safe at work.
- Ward Councillor- ANC- The ANC ward councillor welcomed the implementation of section 139 in Emfuleni municipality, but provided that the municipality has not yet registered any positive results after the intervention. The ward councillor urged all stakeholders to ensure that the intervention addresses the real issues facing Emfuleni municipality and that terms of references should be realistic in that regard. One of the issues raised by the ward councillor was deployment and secondment of officials who are not familiar with dynamics of the Emfuleni municipality.
The ward councillor related a situation where councillors are personally blamed by the communities for the failure of the Emfuleni municipal council leading to vandalization and damaging of properties owned by ward councillors. Eskom challenges were also identified as adding to victimisation of ward councillors by communities.The ANC ward councillor also pleaded for increasing of salaries of ward councillors as approved.
- ELM employee- the employee representing the staff members at Emfuleni municipality informed the Committee about threatening and intimidation against staff members, lack of provision of tools of trades including safety equipment and tools, non-compliance to Covid-19 health regulations, low staff morale, death of a fellow employee while at work and council not addressing the employees about it, and huge labour costs incurred due to non-adherence to labour laws and agreements by the council. The employee also informed the Committee about a Liberty policy/insurance related issue that is troubling the employees due to lack of information and transparency about the policy.
- Ward Councillor- DA: The ward councillor also concurred with information about threatening and intimidation of councillors within the Council. She further reported of physical assaults of councillors outside the council, water and sewage problems, ailing infrastructure, flawed billing system and lack of accountability by the Emfuleni municipal council.
- Member’s observations and concerns
Members noted as follows:
- Speaker’s inaction andnon-implementation of consequence management against threatening of councillors within the Council was not in line with the code of conduct for councillors. Conduct of councillors putting council into disrepute and yet no disciplinary measures are put in place.
- Non- responsiveness of Emfuleni municipality to community challenges and rejection of assistance offered by concerned members of community resulting in refusal to pay for services by community members.
- The role played by the Emfuleni local municipality with regards to the smart prepaid meter related challenges leading and including the default judgement.
- Inability to provide safety equipment, tools and support leading to loss of lives should be dealt with accordingly.
- The appointed administrators not inspiring confidence and commitment to turn around the untoward situation in Emfuleni municipality.
- Lack of support for local businesses including women owned businesses.
- Service delivery challenges not adequately addressed even during the implementation of section 139.
- Lack of unity and infighting amongst political parties represented within Emfuleni local municipality compromising service delivery to communities.
- Huge UIFW, and lack of ability by MPAC to sit and address and implement consequence management against implicated officials.
- The CFO failing in his fiduciary responsibility to report financial mismanagement
- Lack of political will to implement recommendation of section 106 investigations report.
- Freezing of municipal bank accounts
- Several unfinished projects including the Vaal dam project
Due to time constraints the Committee resolved to organise a virtual meeting with the Emfuleni municipality for their responses to the member’s observations and concerns.
After interacting with all the stakeholders, during the oversight, the Committee makes the following recommendations:
- The Emfuleni Local Municipality must immediately furnish the Committee more detailed progress reports with regard to Eskom debt owed.
- The City of Tshwane must furnish the Committee Quarterly Supply Chain Management Reports, as well as Section 32 Reports dealing with irregular expenditure. This would encourage some level oversight in the absence of MPAC.
- The City of Tshwane must share with the Committee the more than 16 forensic investigative reports whose recommendations still await implementation.
- The Gauteng Provincial Department of Human Settlements must investigate the allegations around the sale of RDP houses in Nemalpius and report back to the Committee.
- The Committee must deal with the submissions from the representatives of the Residents Property Association from Attredgeville as a petition.
- Given that the Portfolio Committee did not have an opportunity to meet with the two traditional leaders in Tshwane, it should consider hosting a virtual meeting with these and include those in North West and Mpumalanga.
- The Gauteng Provincial Department of Cooperative Governance must furnish the Committee a Close out Report of the Emfuleni intervention ending on 13 June 2020.
- The Portfolio Committee must do all it can to ensure the protection of those municipal employees who spoke truth to power during the stakeholder engagements with Emfuleni Local Municipality.
The Committees appreciates the cooperation and valuable inputs from the MECs and officials of Provincial COGTA and Treasury. The Committee is also grateful to the leadership and officials of the visited municipalities, as well as representatives from SALGA, for availing themselves for the oversight. Grateful acknowledgement is also due to the representatives from the National and Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders, as well as the traditional leaders who enriched the oversight with their well-considered inputs. The unstinting commitment of Committee members and support staff despite the long and arduous working hoursdeserves utmost commendation.
Report to be considered
No related documents