ATC130910: Report of the Select Committee on Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the Intervention in Ditsobotla Local Municipalty – dated 10 September 2013

NCOP Economic and Business Development


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 in terms of section 139(1 )( b) of the Constitution in Ditsobotla Local Municipality, reports as follows:

1.2 In terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution, 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 in the affairs of Ditsobotla Local Municipality by the Acting MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs to the Committee for consideration and reporting. Subsequently the Committee took a decision during the proceedings of its meeting to conduct an oversight visit to the above-mentioned Municipality during the 20 th August 2013.

2. Purpose and Objectives of the Oversight Visits

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 recommend approval/disapproval of 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 delegation of the Committee was composed of the following Members of Parliament and Officials: Hon MH Mokgobi , Limpopo (ANC); Hon AG Matila , Gauteng (ANC); Hon LPM Nzimande, KwaZulu-Natal (ANC); Hon B Nesi , Eastern Cape (ANC); Hon TMH Mofokeng , Free State (ANC); Hon MV Manzini , Mpumalanga (DA); Hon J Bekker, Western Cape (DA); Hon MW Makhubela, Limpopo (COPE); Hon JJ Gunda, Northern Cape (ID); Mr NA Mfuku , Content Adviser (Committee Section); Mr MT Manele , Committee Secretary (Committee Section); Mr BM Mahlangeni , Committee Researcher (Research Unit); Mr MC Mbebe , Procedural Officer (NCOP) and Mr N Mangweni , Administration Assistant (Committee Section).

4. Introduction

4.1 On the 19 th March 2013, the North West Provincial Executive Council (PEC) resolved to intervene in the affairs of Ditsobotla Local Municipality, in terms of section 139(1 )( b) of the Constitution. This intervention was intended to last for a minimum period of six months, with effect from the 1 st April 2013.

4.2 The main issues that were identified by the PEC in the Municipality were the following:

· poor governance and management of Council matters by the Municipal Council.

· poor leadership and oversight by the Council.

· breach of code of conduct by Councillors.

· poor relations between Council and administration

· deterioration of service delivery within Ditsobotla .

· poor administrative leadership.

· lack of administrative capacity within the Municipality.

4.3 The PEC has then resolved on the basis of the poor state of the Municipality, to appoint an Administrator and a team of experts to implement the intervention on behalf of the PEC.

5. Appointment and Functions of the Administrator

5.1 Mr MD Dikoko has since been appointed as the Administrator for Ditsobotla Local Municipality, and was introduced to Council on the 16 th July 2013. The Administrator and his support team as appointed, was tasked to stabilise and correct the current situation in the Municipality, particularly on the following:

· to take over the executive obligations of the executive obligations of the Municipality for the duration of the intervention.

· to manage the overall administration of the Municipality, with respect to adopted protocol and agreed timeframes as reflected in the Intervention Plan.

· stabilise and improve governance, administration and service delivery.

· in terms of financial management, to improve the financial controls, expenditure management, procurement processes, revenue enhancement and credit control, as well as addressing audit queries.

· investigate and take corrective action on the procedures followed by Council in the removal of the Mayor, Mayco and the appointment of the Municipal Manager.

· facilitate the improvement of governance within the Municipality with regard to Council oversight role, functionality of the Council committees and the relationship between Council and the administration.

6. Oversight Visit to Ditsobotla Local Municipality

6.1 On the 21 st August 2013, the delegation of the Committee had interactive and robust engagements with all stakeholders of the Municipality. The main internal stakeholders the delegation interacted with in the Municipality included the Speaker, Executive Mayor, Chief Whip, Councillors, Ward Committee Members. The main external stakeholders the delegation interacted with included members of the community, the business forum and non-governmental organizations.

7. Presentation by the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs

7.1 The MEC stated that the problems in the Municipality intensified in mid 2012, when the post of the Municipal Manager became vacant and there was a need to fill the position. The contract of the former Municipal Manager expired in March 2012, following a Council decision to place him on special leave for some months, prior to the expiry of his contract.

7.2 The Council then approached the former MEC to second a suitable person to act in the position, and an official from the Provincial Government was appointed to act for three months. Following that, the post of the Municipal Manager was then advertised and the Acting Municipal Manager applied. However, he did not meet the competency requirements as indicated in the Minimum Competency Regulations.

7.3 The recruitment process then proceeded without the inclusion of the Acting Municipal Manager, and this fuelled conflicts and tension within the Council. This resulted in a decision of Council to remove the Mayor. Another process of recruitment was then conducted, and the current Municipal Manager was then appointed. Since then, the conflicts within the Council escalated and this adversely affected the administration and ultimately service delivery in Ditsobotla .

8. Structure of the Report

8.1 For the purpose of this report, the submissions made by stakeholders are structured in terms of Municipal Transformation and Organisational Development; Basic Service Delivery and Good Governance and Public Participation performance indicators.

(A). Municipal Transformation and Organisational Development

8.2 Administrator: The Council having adopted the rules of order, it does not adhere nor respect such rules of order. Foul language and physical attacks were prevalent in the Council chambers, and disciplinary measures were not taken against the perpetrators. Equally, the relationship between the Mayor, Speaker and Municipal Manager was generally not healthy as it was supposed to be.

8.3 The IDP , as a strategic document of the Municipality outlining the strategic intent, was not aligned to the Organisational Structure, Budget and SDBIP. Further, senior management reports to Council were not consistent and congruent to the strategic documents which enabled monitoring and evaluation processes to be cumbersome. Thus, rendering the functionality of the Municipality impossible and questionable.

(B). Basic Service Delivery

8.4 Administrator: Service delivery has been severely compromised, due to the lack of management systems, planning, commitment, skilled personnel and monitoring. Water and electricity losses are not monitored and are unknown. The sustainability of those serves and materials which are needed to deliver those services are at risk.

(C). Good Governance and Public Participation

8.5 Administrator: Ward Committees in all wards have been established, but their functionality was questionable. The Municipality has not equipped them with the necessary tools of trade, including working space. Items raised by Ward Committees were not taken into account and processed accordingly. The offices of the Speaker and administration are accountable for immediate response, and ultimately service delivery on these items.

8.6 The Local Labour Forum was not functional. The implementation of the Bargaining Council Collective Agreement was a serious challenge for the Municipality, given the number of unresolved grievances, alleged unprocedural suspensions and continuous threats towards the employees.

8.7 SAMWU: The South African Municipal Workers Union stated that municipal employees were in danger of attack, from other officials in the political and Municipal Manager’s Offices. Employees were expected to work under conditions that are not safe to their wellbeing, and the Municipality is failing to address these challenges which negatively affect their morale.

8.8 Ward Committees: It was submitted that reports by Ward Committees are never read the Municipality.

9. Committee Observations and Opinion

9.1 It was observed that from the begging of the Council term of office, there was division prevalent in the appointment of the Mayor, Speaker, Executive Committee, and matters of Council which divided the house by votes. Different mandates from the two factions provincially and regionally exacerbated the situation. This lead to the Council not to concentrate on the tasks at hand, but on power play for control of Council. The factions prevailing in the Municipality has been institutionalised to the detriment of both service delivery and good governance practices in Ditsobotla .

9.2 The political leadership of Ditsobotla should promote and enhance the institutional integrity of the Municipality by ensuring that, p olitical management does not destabilize and place inappropriate pressure on the Municipal Council and administration. Further, political office bearers deployed in Ditsobotla should be well trained, inducted and have the capacity and integrity to provide leadership in the best interest of the communities in Ditsobotla .

9.3 Staff members were overpaid for their December 2012 salaries and received double payments, and apparently this was done not for the first time. The challenge could be that the financial system of the Municipality was not functional or that this was a deliberate action by the Finance Department officials.

9.4 It was also noted that there was not adherence by the Municipality to appropriate systems and procedures, to ensure fair, efficient, effective and transparent personnel administration including the recruitment, selection and appointment of persons as staff members.

9.5 With regard to unaccounted water and electricity losses, strategies should be developed to implement regular water and electricity audit, and to implement a loss reduction programme for both services. Those programmes should address water demand management, water losses, electricity losses and demand management that will ensure that funding of preventive maintenance and multi-year budgeting is done on an ongoing basis.

10. Recommendations

10.1 The Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs recommends as follows :

10.1.1 The NCOP approves the intervention in terms of section 139 (1 )( b) of the Constitution in Ditsobotla Local Municipality for a period of six months, after the adoption of this report.

10.1.2 The Administrator should investigate and take corrective steps to recover the double payments that were irregularly made to officials and councillors of Ditsobotla Local Municipality, as a matter of urgency. A report in this regard should be tabled to the NCOP within three months, after the adoption of this report.

10.1.3 With regard to unaccounted water and electricity losses, the Administrator should develop strategies to implement regular water and electricity audit and to implement a loss reduction programme for both services in the Municipality.

10.1.4 The political leadership of Ditsobotla should promote and enhance the institutional integrity of the Municipality by ensuring that, p olitical management does not destabilize and place inappropriate pressure on the Municipal Council and administration.

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

10.1.6 The North West MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs should table quarterly progress reports to the NCOP and the Provincial Legislature on the status of the intervention in the Municipality, including the challenges encountered.

Report to be considered.


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