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“Dissolution of NC municipality warranted”

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Parly committee to recommend dissolution of Renosterberg local municipality.

File image. Picture: Facebook

PARLIAMENT’S select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation and human settlements has announced that it will recommend the dissolution of the Renosterberg Local Municipality in the Northern Cape.

The committee said in a statement on Thursday that it would recommend to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to approve the intervention by Northern Cape provincial executive into the Renosterberg Municipality.

“Following a lengthy engagement with the municipality’s stakeholders, the committee is convinced that the municipality is unable to achieve the objects of the local government,” the committee stated.

Some of the issues the committee indicated that it had relied on to reach this decision included the information that governance had collapsed, the financial challenges facing the municipality, including a R89 million debt to Eskom, and the non-submission of Section 71 reports in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

“The committee is convinced that there are exceptional circumstances that warrant the dissolution of the municipality, as it has proven that it is unable to achieve its constitutional obligation in terms of the Constitution,” China Dodovu, the chairperson of the committee, said.

The committee further raised its disappointment with the absence of the municipality’s mayor and municipal manager to give their perspective on the matter, which, it stated, would have enriched the committee’s discussions in this regard.

“We have committed to look into reasons why they did not attend the meeting. This not only undermines the committee, but the Constitution as well, as it enjoys all spheres of government to work together to achieve common goals,” Dodovu emphasised.

The committee stated that it was also concerning that the MEC had reported that the municipality had refused to accept the support provided by a National Treasury-appointed expert on their Municipal Finance Improvement Programme. “This is concerning in the context that the municipality must implement a financial recovery plan, which is necessary to ensure that the municipality is returned to viability.”

Concern was also raised about the municipality’s failure to appoint a functional municipal public accounts committee, which could have exercised oversight over the executive in terms of the MFMA, the Systems Act and Municipal Structures Act. “This posed a serious breach in governance at the municipality, which is untenable,” Dodovu added.

“The committee is convinced that the decision it has taken is credible and is taken within the context of what is taking place at Renosterberg Municipality. Furthermore, the committee hopes that the decision will create a platform for change that will favour the people,” it stated.

“The committee is also satisfied by the fact that the Northern Cape provincial executive has met all the procedural requirements on its intervention in the Renosterberg Municipality. It is in this context that the committee will recommend to the NCOP to approve the intervention.

“The committee is hopeful that the intervention will be implemented to turn the municipality’s governance around to meet the service delivery needs of the people of the area. The committee will also recommend to the NCOP that the appointed administrator must move with speed to address the financial challenges facing the municipality and implement a financial recovery plan, address creditors’ issues and also address payment of third parties (pension fund, UIF and medical aid).”

In a statement issued to the media, the mayor of the Renosterberg Municipality, Johannes Niklaas, stated that the council had declared a dispute in terms of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act.

“The dispute is in response to the provincial government’s manoeuvring to intervene and dissolve the Renosterberg council.”

The statement added further that the dissolution of the council was unlawful and unenforceable.