KZN municipality under admin
Durban - The uMsunduzi municipality has been placed under administration and its mayor and municipal manager stripped of their executive powers after it descended into "turmoil", KwaZulu-Natal's local governance and traditional affairs MEC said on Thursday.
"This radical decision by cabinet stems from the untenable situation which has seriously compromised the state of good governance and service delivery in the uMsunduzi municipality.
"The situation has deteriorated, it's in a state of turmoil," MEC Nomusa Dube told journalists in Durban.
Dube's department had received several complaints and service delivery in the area, which includes Pietermaritzburg, was on the verge of collapsing.
All executive functions, powers and responsibilities would be assumed by her office with immediate effect.
"uMsunduzi municipality is the capital of KwaZulu-Natal and an economic hub… we have had a number of interactions with the uMsunduzi management.
"The municipal council has condoned irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure as is evident from the Auditor General's report on the 2008/2009 financial year. The (executive committee) has dismally failed to exercise an oversight role over the municipality's administration.”
Despite several interventions by her department, it had gone from one disaster to another.
In February Dube announced her office would take over the municipality's administration. She sent three experts, two accountants and an auditor, to look at expenditure and supply chain management.
"The deployed financial experts have reported that there is a lack of co-operation from certain senior managers of the municipality who have issued instructions to staff not to provide urgently required information, on the basis of which a comprehensive financial recovery plan would be developed," Dube said.
Following this lack of co-operation the provincial government was forced to introduce tougher measures.
"Someone should have alerted somebody… somebody didn't do something, someone has to account… they will face the full might of the law."
The administrator assigned to turn the municipality around would focus on basic service delivery, improve financial systems, enhance revenue collection and improve institutional capacity and performance.
The administrator would be helped by the three experts appointed in February. She met the municipality's leaders on Thursday and they acknowledged the problems.
"I must say that I was impressed to learn that the leadership is recognising the shortcomings... They have accepted the interventions in good spirit and committed themselves to providing full support to the administrator in turning around the municipality," she said.
She warned that the council would be dissolved if it further refused to co-operate with the administrator.
In February it was reported the municipality had enough money to function for a week. The municipality’s net available cash fell from R120m in 2007/2008 to R1.7m in 2008/2009.