Parliament, Friday, 13 March 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) today received briefings by the Ugu District Municipality (DM) on the water crisis in the district and the status of the Dr J S Moroka Municipality.

The committee received a petition from MPL R Virana of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature in February this year regarding the water crisis at Ugu District Municipality. Ugu DM was prioritised from among the other ailing municipalities in the country to be heard today. The report which the municipality presented was not accepted and was disregarded as it was not a true reflection of what the situation on the ground was like. One of the members of the committee questioned the municipality as to the reasons why 121 staff members were dismissed and why 14 shop stewards were criminally charged which negatively affected the municipality's functionality. The committee questioned why the municipal manager was on sick leave for an extended period as the issue of sabotage came up, financial irregularities, ineffective leadership and allegations of corruption amongst others. The Committee has requested the municipality to devise and submit a Master Plan by 20 March 2020 together with a comprehensive report in response to the questions asked by the members. The acting municipal manager and district mayor will be held accountable by the committee. The Chairperson said,” every municipality is experiencing difficulty due to the drought and the failure to provide water, however this municipality has simply failed its people”.

The second presentation by Dr J S Moroka Municipality painted an even bleaker picture. There is a Section 139(1) (b) intervention in place at the municipality. The committee heard that the municipality is under administration and that there is a legal battle with the former municipal manager who was dismissed. The Administrator has found that the municipality is malfunctioning with the Portfolio Committees at the municipality not meeting. Further the municipality is in a “financial mess” and is non-compliant with the financial regulations prescribed for local government. The Chief Financial Officer together with the Deputy Chief Financial Officer and other finance staff are suspended. There is no revenue collection and there is a total collapse of service delivery.

The Administrator also gave an account of being held hostage at the municipality and that the local police were not of assistance to him. The Committee viewed this situation in a serious light and will liaise with all the relevant stakeholders to remedy this situation. The Chairperson remarked that the committee will support the MEC of CoGTA and the municipality as long as they operate within the parameters of the law.


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