It has come to the attention of the Democratic Alliance (DA) that the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Thembeni Nxangisa, this week wrote to the Masilonyana Municipality to inform them that the ANC Provincial Executive Committee has decided to withdraw the Sec 139(1)b intervention in the municipality.
This decision is irrational, considering that during the 31 month provincial intervention the municipality’s financial situation regressed. Service delivery is almost non-existent, with continuous water interruptions and employees striking over non-payment of salaries.
On the same day that the MEC’s letter was delivered to the municipality, another letter was delivered by Eskom, informing the municipality that bulk supply of electricity will be terminated because of the debt by the municipality. Over one year, under the provincial intervention, the debt to Eskom increased by 20% from R54 million to R70 million.
Last month the municipality was called before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts as one of the two worst performing municipalities with regards to audit outcomes. The other municipality called to the committee was Mafube, interestingly one of the other Free State municipalities under provincial Sec 139(1)b administration.
It is clear that bankrupt and crippled municipalities are worse off under ANC provincial government’s care than they are under incompetent ANC-run councils.
We can only hope that the MEC will give some indication of how he sees this municipality moving forward on their own, but under worse conditions than before the intervention.
It is certainly time for the provincial government to start fulfilling its constitutional oversight obligations. Something it has failed to do for years, due to the appointment of administrators who are cadres first, and public servants second.
The Democratic Alliance will write to the NCOP Chairperson of the Select Committee on COGTA, which is tasked with overseeing interventions, to call the MEC to explain to Parliament how he foresees Masilonyana moving forward.