uMvoti put under administration

2013-07-23 00:00

THE troubled uMvoti Municipality in Greytown yesterday became the first to be placed under provincial administration this year.

It was a situation the IFP in the council predicted last week.

It said the ANC would rather have the council placed under administration and under the control of the MEC for Co-operative Governance (Cogta), Nomusa Dube, than hand over power to the opposition parties in the council.

The department head of Cogta, Nonhlanhla Qhobosheane, told a special council meeting yesterday that the decision to place the municipality under administration was in the interest of service delivery. Since November 2012, there have been continuous power struggles and instability at uMvoti Municipality, she said.

There had been various challenges, including motions for the removal of the Exco and office bearers; court action instituted by political parties and the municipality itself; as well as walk-outs by political parties, ensuring there was no quorum.

“These challenges relating to political stability were impacting on various aspects of administration and compromising the functionality of the municipality and the achievement of its statutory obligations,” she said.

This dysfunctionality had also resulted in the presence of SAPS at council meetings to guard against chaos at certain meetings, as well as a request from the municipal manager to “close” the municipal offices until July 18.

Qhobosheane spoke about the meeting held on June 21, saying these proceedings were currently subject to litigation.

At that meeting, the opposition parties joined forces and voted the ANC out of leadership. This was done by the combined votes of the IFP, NFP and the DA.

While the ANC welcomed the decision to place the municipality under administration, opposition parties protested.

IFP councillor Petros Ngubane accused Dube of being biased towards the ANC. “We have been reporting on the challenges faced by our council since 2011, but nothing was ever done to resolve these challenges.”

Ngubane said the council’s 2012 budget was not approved and there had allegedly been irregular appointments of staff members, but the municipality had not been placed under administration then. “But now that we are the controlling majority, we are now placed under administration.”

The NFP’s Zamo Xaba accused former mayor Philani Mavundla of causing all the trouble.

He claimed this was the doing of one man who controlled everything in that municipality. “He never showed respect for any councillors, including members of his own party. We were called izichaka [to suggest they were broke] and odlwana [to suggest they came from a small house] by this individual,” said Xaba.

Mavundla resigned and left the council in June.

Xaba said his party would co-operate with the new administrator because they wanted the crisis resolved at uMvoti.

Qhobosheane announced that the new administrator would be Martin Sithole, who is currently employed as the municipal manager at uThukela District Municipality. His term of office at that municipality comes to an end this month and he will take over the affairs of uMvoti from August 1.

Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said there were now five municipalities under administration. These were Indaka, Abaqulusi, uMtubatuba, Imbabazane and uMvoti.

He said uThukela and Ugu district municipalities were under provincial support intervention, which was done at the request of the municipalities because they were experiencing financial difficulties.

“We have an obligation to support such municipalities until the financial situation has been normalised,” said Mabaso.

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