GMM placed under administration! Or not?

“Please note that this is inaccurate No Municipality has been put under administration. Please read the statement and the definition of the ACT properly.”

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A message is doing the rounds regarding the possibility of placing of three municipalities under administration in Mpumalanga. Residents have posted the message on all social media platforms and residents were buzzing with conversations about the possibility of it not being a hoax.
The message reads as follows: “The Mpumalanga Government has placed three municipalities under administration. The province’s executive council has also directed investigations in the municipalities into allegations of maladministration, fraud and corruption. Investigations in the Siyabuswa municipality near the Limpopo border, the Govan Mbeki municipality in Secunda and the Doctor Pixley Ka Seme municipality in Volksrust follow amid poor service delivery. The government says the investigations are expected to be completed in two months.”
Mpumalanga government spokesperson, Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni, responded with the following: “Please note that this is inaccurate No Municipality has been put under administration. Please read the statement and the definition of the ACT properly.”
The full statement reads as follows: “The Executive Council held its ordinary sitting on Wednesday the 30th of October 2019 at Mbombela.
MUNICIPAL SUPPORT
Executive Council acknowledges the Constitutional obligation by the Provincial and National Government to support Municipalities as enshrined in Section 154. As such EXCO resolved to invoke Section 106 (1) (b) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, 2000 to three Municipalities to give effect to the support.”
The Act states: If an MEC has reason to believe that a municipality in the province cannot or does not fulfil a statutory obligation binding on that municipality or that maladministration, fraud, corruption or any other serious malpractice has occurred or is occurring in a municipality in the province.
If the MEC considers it necessary, designate a person or persons to investigate the matter.
The municipalities are:
• Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality;
• Govan Mbeki Local Municipality; and
• Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality.
The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has been assigned to institute the investigations. The investigations are expected to conclude within sixty (60) days.
Now might be the time to investigate exactly what Section 106 (1) (b) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, 2000 says. It reads as follows: Non-performance and maladministration 106.
(i) If an MEC has reason to believe that a municipality in the province cannot or does not fulfil a statutory obligation binding on that municipality or that maladministration, fraud, corruption or any other serious malpractice has occurred or is occurring in a municipality in the province, the MEC must —
(b) if the MEC considers it necessary, designate a person or persons to investigate the matter.
It is clear that the Municipal Council will not yet be dissolved as is possible.
It is however a scathing report that highlights the ”maladministration, fraud, corruption or any other serious malpractice” that is possibly happening in the municipality.
During a recent extraordinary council meeting, council resolved the following: Item A090/09/2019

  1. That it BE ACKNOWLEDGED that a task team has been established between the Gert Sibande District Municipality and Govan Mbeki Municipality to investigate and make recommendations on the following:
    1.1. The causes of the non-delivery of services to the community; 1.2. Steps to be taken to make the municipality financially viable; 1.3. Capacity building for the staff of the municipality; 1.4. Functionality of public participation; 1.5. Councillor capacity building for effective governance; and 1.6. Implementation of the benchmarking with the Steve Tshwete Municipality and or other municipalities.
  2. That the Terms of Reference of the task team between Gert Sibande District Municipality and Govan Mbeki municipality BE APPROVED subject to the following:
    2.1. That the Mayoral Committee, Troika, the Municipal Manager and the Chief Financial Offer form part of the Task Team and that the Chief of Staff perform the secretariat function.
    Gert Sibande District Municipality has appointed a task team to assist Govan Mbeki and Lekwa Local municipalities and make recommendations.
    The Scope of assistance: The assistance will be primarily for financial viability, Service Delivery and Human Resource development principally on the causes of non-delivery of services and make recommendations.
    The functions of the Task Team will be that the Task Team must investigate and make recommendations on the following:
    (1) The causes of the non-delivery of services to the community of Govan Mbeki
    (2) Steps to be taken to make the municipality financially viable
    (3) Capacity building for the staff of the municipality
    (4) Functionality of Public Participation (5) Councillors capacity building for effective governance
    (6) Implementation of the benchmarking with the Steve Tshwete municipality or other municipality.
    There are numerous examples of wasteful and fruitless expenditure in GMM, not to mention deviations of the supply chain policies.
    The Govan Mbeki Municipality is in dire need of intervention but the MEC still tries to have less invasive techniques imposed on GMM.
    The clock is ticking in the meantime for GMM’s financial status. The Eskom and Rand Water debts are currently crippling the municipality.
    Only time will tell what will happen to Govan Mbeki Municipality’s finances…

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