DA calls for intervention at Msunduzi municipality

2017-09-06 19:37
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Durban – The DA has called on the KwaZulu-Natal government to intervene in the Msunduzi Municipality where the party says money is still being spent frivolously despite crippling financial issues.

The DA has described how the municipality, within which Pietermaritzburg is situated, has been suffering under a number of challenges, including a lack of basic services. However, despite this, Msunduzi still resolved to sponsor a Premier Soccer League (PSL) team with R30m over three years.

The municipality has also chosen to sponsor a jazz festival to the tune of R3m, according to Mergan Chetty, DA KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson for co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta). 

Chetty said he had written to Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube requesting her urgent intervention in Msunduzi as per section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution. He says the municipality is near collapse.

"The MEC is well aware of the problems in this municipality. Not so long ago, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Willies Mchunu, had to intervene in Msunduzi due to an electricity crisis which is alleged to have been caused by disgruntled employees."

READ: Msunduzi official wasted money

Chetty said that the MEC was also aware that two months ago staff members did not receive their salaries on time, leading to a disruptive strike.

Concern over acting municipal manager's contract

"It is known that Msunduzi is operating on a deficit and has resorted to using its reserves just to keep afloat. Yet in the meantime, the leadership of this municipality saw it fit to sponsor a local PSL team with a whopping R30m for the next three years."

He added: "Decisions like these are a slap in the face of the taxpaying citizens. How do you explain this decision to a ratepayer who has been without water and electricity for days?"

Chetty said that the sponsoring of a jazz festival was also "another fruitless and wasteful expense on an event that is not the council's responsibility".

READ: 'Scores settled' as another senior Msundizi staffer suspended  

According to Chetty, the DA was also concerned with the extension of the contract of acting municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe.

"The attempt to regulate the extension of his contract is irregular in terms of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act. It is a known fact that his initial appointment was shrouded in controversy and has been questionable ever since."

DA 'clouding genuine issues'

Responding to Chetty, spokesperson for Cogta Lennox Mabaso lambasted the opposition party for "not paying attention to the good work being done".

"I am in Pietermaritzburg and I see people refurbishing roads. I see developments. I see some construction work going on."

He said the DA was "fishing for negativity".

"It really clouds genuine issues and concerns."

Mabaso said that Dube-Ncube had engaged the municipality "as she has been raising issues of concern with electricity".

"She has a team supporting the municipality. The leadership of the city is really committed to ensuring that it is turning the city around."

Mabaso said the municipality was setting targets to deal with any shortcomings.

MEC 'monitoring progress'

On the issue of staffing, Mabaso said the MEC was aware that key positions would be filled.

"She has instructed them that all positions must be filled timeously. She has received correspondence from municipalities that it will be done. She has given the municipality all the timelines to work on that. They are reporting progress."

Mabaso said municipalities must be allowed time "to do that work".

"The MEC is never shy in intervening. She monitors progress. If it gets to a point where she does not like the pace she will take it on herself."

He said the issue of sponsorship for the PSL team had to be addressed by the municipality because any decision would have to be taken by council.

"We do not have information of that at this stage."

The municipality did not immediately respond to queries on the matter. 

Read more on:    da  |  cogta  |  nomusa dube-ncube  |  pietermaritzburg  |  service delivery

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