Dissolving of council welcomed by DA

2017-07-19 06:00

The DA has welcomed the dissolving of the coalition-run Metsimaholo Municipality Council.

The Free State Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta) took the decision to dissolve the council on Thursday, 6 July, in the wake of the coalition collapse. This followed infighting among the political parties in the coalition, which led to the failure of the Metsimaholo Local Municipality to adopt its 2017-’18 budget. The municipality was governed in a coalition by the DA, EFF, Metsimaholo Community Association (MCA) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

The parties ousted the ruling ANC in the 2016 local government election.

The parties had failed to agree and comply with the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) No 56 of 2003, stating that all municipal councils are to approve budgets at least 30 days before 1 July, the start of the new financial year.

The dissolving of the council means a new council is expected to be elected. The date for the election of a new council is expected to be pronounced within 90 days from when the council was dissolved.

Patricia Kopane, DA provincial leader and Member of Parliament, said in a statement that the last straw for the coalition was the MCA pulling out.

“The MCA pulled out of the coalition, sold out to the ANC and replaced the DA mayoral management committee with ANC councillors. Challenges in the municipality started when it failed to table the budget for the 2017-’18 financial year, which was due by 30 June 2017. The opposition (DA, EFF and FF+) rejected the budget on the grounds that it was not drafted in accordance with the Integrated Development Plan (IDP), which is ward-based or pro-poor.

“Numerous requests were sent to the executive mayor, Cllr. Sello Hlasa, to discuss the budget, but they were ignored. The ANC tried to push through the budget even though it would not benefit the people. The DA was not willing to pass an illegitimate budget and an IDP from which the community will not benefit just to retain their positions,” said Kopane.

Tiisetso Makhele, spokesperson for the Free State premier, Ace Magashule, said the Free State executive council resolved to dissolve the coalition-run Metsimaholo Council in terms of Section 139 (4) of the Constitution.

“The executive council further appointed Moses Moremi as the administrator with effect from 1 July. Moremi will perform functions of the council until a new council is elected and declared. In the same period, he will also be expected to provide monthly progress reports to the executive council on the running of the municipality,” said Makhele.

However, Kopane is sceptical that Moremi will revive the municipality and bring back efficient service delivery to the people.

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