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‘Place municipality under administration’

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The municipality will have to present national Treasury with an acceleration plan and its supply chain management processes

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A COMMUNITY forum has requested the Premier’s Office, as well as the Northern Cape Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), to place Magareng Municipality under administration.

The community staged a protest last month after the electricity supply to the municipality was cut because of a debt of R30 million owed to Eskom.

National Treasury earlier this month warned the municipality that the R4.3 million of Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) funds, out of a total of R11.3 million, would be withheld due to non-compliance.

The municipality had to explain to national Treasury, by yesterday, why expenditure, as of December 2017, was below 40 percent, its liquidity ratio and initial cash flow projections.

It also had to provide representations of all projects awarded after December 31 last year.

The municipality will have to present national Treasury with an acceleration plan and its supply chain management processes.

According to a memorandum that was handed over during a community march that took place last week, the municipality had failed to fulfil its executive obligations.

“The community and residents of Magareng have lost all confidence in the local council and therefore we demand that the municipality be placed under administration.”

The Magareng Community Forum requested the SA Local Government Association (Salga) to appoint an official to assist the acting municipal manager.

“Treasury must conduct an audit of the staff establishment, review irregular appointments and report to the provincial executive, within seven days (yesterday).”

The forum urged provincial Treasury to review all tenders awarded by the municipality for the past two financial years.

“The director of technical services should be placed on precautionary suspension with immediate effect to allow for an independent investigation into unspent conditional grants, especially with respect to the MIG fund, where millions meant for service delivery had to be returned to national Treasury because of a dereliction of duty and administration”.

The forum also called upon the executive to support the petition to the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa), to revoke the electricity vending licence of Magareng Municipality.

Community representative Dirk Moses stated that Coghsta had promised to meet with them tomorrow.

“We will decide thereafter on what further steps should be taken.”

Spokesperson for Coghsta, Xhanti Teki, said that MEC Bentley Vass had received the memorandum from the Magareng Community Forum.

“The MEC has undertaken to prioritise the Magareng matter for speedy resolution to circumvent the impasse that is currently unfolding,” said Teki.

Spokesperson for Magareng Municipality, Thapelo Jacobs, said the municipality noted the memorandum that was handed over to Coghsta.

“The municipality will await the department’s response and provide a response at the appropriate time,” said Jacobs.