Msunduzi: council gets a bit more time

2010-03-11 00:00

CO-OPERATIVE Governance MEC Nomusa Dube came in for a scathing attack from opposition party members yesterday over her decision not to immediately dissolve the Msunduzi Municipality.

Addressing a sitting of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature in KwaMaphumulo yesterday, Dube said she needed to address misconceptions that her department is failing to deal with issues at the beleaguered municipality.

Dube said her department had partnered with the KwaZulu-Natal Finance Department to identify and monitor the shortcomings of the municipality.

She added that a task team has been deployed to provide feedback, although there appears to be defiance and a denial of facts by senior managers.

The MEC branded claims that she has done nothing to sort out the troubles at the municipality as false and unfair, saying she is the first MEC to take up the issues.

She said she will not be bullied into dissolving the municipality yet, and that she is intervening according to the law.

“It is when a municipality fails to respond and resists where we have to act,” Dube maintained.

The Democratic Alliance’s provincial spokesman for co-operative governance, George Mari, accused Dube of “protecting the ANC in Msunduzi”.

Mari said Dube had let down the residents of Msunduzi, adding that if it had been a DA- or Inkatha Freedom Party-led municipality, her department would not have hesitated to dissolve it.

Mari’s statement was not well received by ANC members, who loudly voiced their displeasure, forcing deputy speaker Mtholephi Mthimkhulu to call repeatedly for order.

A member of the legislature for the IFP, Roman Liptak, said the department’s intervention has been “watered down”, yet it has not hesitated to intervene far more harshly in three IFP-led municipalities.

Liptak was referring to the recent ministerial intervention in the Okhahlamba, Indaka and Umhlabuyalingana municipalities, in terms of Section 139(b) of the Constitution.

“We condemn these blatant double standards. We call for immediate intervention in the Msunduzi Council, in terms of Section 139(b) of the Constitution, to restore financial liquidity to this municipality,” said Liptak.

“Dube intervened in these [IFP-run] municipalities while she faced an identical crisis at Msunduzi, which she chose to shrug off with the dispatch of a ministerial task team,” added Liptak.

Provincial ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala again confirmed that the party’s provincial working committee took a decision to have Section 139 (b) of the Constitution invoked in the Msunduzi Municipality.

He said the party will obtain a report from provincial government and then respond to the media

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