KZN Municipal Managers’ qualifications mean little without political will

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA

A recent written parliamentary reply to the DA confirms that the vast majority of KwaZulu-Natal’s Municipal Managers are adequately qualified to do the job.

According to the response by KZN COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube, 46 out of 50 Municipal Managers have the required qualifications. The reply reveals that Municipal Managers in Impendle, Zululand, uMkhanyakude and Msinga are either not suitably qualified or have not yet employed someone to the position. Impendle and uMkhanyakude have both applied for a waiver from the National Minister. Zululand and Msinga are yet to conclude the recruitment of Municipal Managers.

If 92% of KZN Municipal Managers are qualified to do the job then the question must be asked – why are municipalities in such a mess?

The DA believes that lack of political is the answer to this question.

The National Treasury recently admitted that the failure of many municipalities was directly attributable to a lack of local political leadership. Where there are dysfunctional councils, services are not delivered.

This, coupled with the on-going cadre deployment of Section 57 employees, including CFO’s and senior management, continues to plague any effort by the province to save struggling municipalities.

The recent Auditor-General’s report on KZN municipalities saw an embarrassing 60 out of 61 municipalities fail to meet the required financial standard. Yet these councils remain in office and continue to receive transfers from national government despite their obvious failures.

Section 139 of the Constitution provides for the dismissal of municipal councils when financial affairs are in crisis. Why has the MEC not taken this route?

The time has come for provincial government to take on a more proactive role in exercising its constitutional prerogative. The qualifications of municipal employees are not worth the paper they are written on if the will to exercise good governance does not exist.

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