Western Cape govt to intervene over Kannaland municipality 'irregularities'

2016-09-13 12:08
MEC Anton Bredell (Picture: Western Cape department of local government)

MEC Anton Bredell (Picture: Western Cape department of local government)

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Cape Town - A probe into the troubled Kannaland municipality in the Western Cape has confirmed irregularities in the appointment of an acting municipal manager and a personal assistant, Local Government MEC Anton Bredell’s office said on Tuesday.

"I am of the view that, given the issues uncovered in Kannaland, there are sufficient grounds for an intervention at the Kannaland municipality," he said in a statement.

Bredell ordered an assessment after the municipality’ previous majority party, Icosa, was ousted by a coalition between the ANC and DA, following the August 3 local government elections.

Assessors found that, after the elections, municipal manager Morne Hoogbaard had resigned and an acting municipal manager was appointed. This was allegedly not in line with Section 54A of the Municipal Systems Act, Bredell's spokesperson James-Brent Styan said.

A personal assistant was hired without following procedure, confirming earlier allegations by Icosa leader Dawid Kamfer. It was not yet clear if she was earning R100 000 as claimed in media reports.

Recommendations

It was recommended that the municipality’s organisational structure be reviewed urgently. This would include "the continued role" of the 122 temporary workers the new council found on the payroll.

Service delivery would function as normal, but this may change because of the lack of administrative leadership.

The team decided that infrastructure projects would be reviewed and prioritised to make sure funding was allocated to urgent water and sanitation projects.

They noted that cash flow problems continued and the municipality was taking longer to collect money owed, which affected its ability to pay its creditors.

Debt owed was R37.6m by the end of April 2016. The municipality's primary account was overdrawn by R1.82m by the end of August. It had an overdraft facility of R4m, and still owed Eskom R12m.

The Eskom arrears almost resulted in all the lights going out in Kannaland earlier this year, which would have been catastrophic for residents and businesses, including a major cheese factory.

Bredell had given the new council a chance to respond to the recommendations.

Styan said the department did not want to disrupt council business, and was considering how best it could offer support. The municipality was given a chance to respond before Bredell decided on what type of intervention would be put in place.

Read more on:    anton bredell  |  cape town  |  politics  |  service delivery  |  local government

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