James Masango MPL
Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
The DA reiterates its call on cooperative governance MEC SPD Skhosana for a direct intervention in the Thaba Chweu local council in terms of Section 139(1)(c) of Constitution, to dissolve the council, and appoint an administrator until a new municipal council has been elected.
Municipal governance in this municipality has come to a virtual standstill, and every day residents are forced to suffer from its inability to provide even the most basic of services.
The DA offers the following reasons why council should be dissolved, and why fresh elections should be held:
- The local ANC remains deeply divided, with competing factions continuously inciting people to violence, making the municipality ungovernable.
- A total lack of political and administrative leadership within council and the administration.
- Councillors and officials are aligned with the various factions, and use and abuse their positions to promote their own interests and harming others’ at the expense of service delivery.
- Widespread maladministration, nepotism and political patronage.
- Tenders are handed out to friends and associates, funds go unaccounted for or are spent on non-budgeted items and non-essentials, and municipal jobs are dished out to faithful allies, irrespective of their qualifications or lack thereof.
- Municipal finances are in a state of absolute chaos, with the municipality obtaining disclaimed audit opinions for four years running.
- Billing systems are completely dysfunctional and revenue collection sporadic at best.
While these are the main contributing factors that have reduced Thaba Chweu’s ability to provide decent services, the trickle-down effect of each has had a debilitating effect on virtually every aspect of delivery, leaving residents without decent sewage reticulation, as well as regular water and electricity supply. In fact, it is not uncommon to see these services interrupted for days, while the municipality stumbles from one crisis to the next.
The final, and probably most compelling reason is that direct interventions in terms of Section 139(1)(b) have twice failed, and have in fact further reduced Thaba Chweu’s service delivery capacity, and the DA is in no doubt that to place it under administration for a third time would not make peoples’ lives better.
Thaba Chweu is without a doubt in need of an entire overhaul of both the executive and administrative, and the DA will write to cooperative governance MEC SPD Skhosana requesting him to recognise the exceptional circumstances around which the municipality cannot fulfil its obligations, and to dissolve the council and appoint an administrator until a new council is elected.
MEC Skhosana must take the necessary available steps to ease the suffering of the people of Thaba Chweu.