Capital rescue plan

2010-03-10 00:00

ANOTHER step aimed at rescuing the cash-strapped Msunduzi Municipality, in the form of the implementation of section 139 (b) of the Constitution, is under way.

This was confirmed by provincial ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala yesterday evening.

Zikalala said the party’s provincial working committee (PWC) decided on this action on Monday.

He said a decision was taken in the meeting to implement Section 139 (b), whereby full intervention is sought from the provincial government to put Msunduzi Municipality under an administrator.

This step is taken when a municipality fails to discharge its duties in line with the Constitution. Zikalala said the provincial executive committee will call on the provincial government to implement this decision.

The Witness learnt that a meeting between a provincial executive committee (PEC) delegation, Msunduzi executive committee members (Exco) and the regional executive committee (REC) of the Moses Mabhida region was held at the ANC offices in the city, where the decision was explained to Exco members yesterday afternoon.

However, Zikalala denied that the meeting sat.

Section 139 (b) entitles the provincial government to assume responsibility for the relevant obligations in a municipality to the extent necessary; to maintain essential national standards or meet established minimum standards for the rendering of a service; to prevent the municipal council from taking unreasonable action that is prejudicial to the interests of another municipality or to the province as a whole; and to maintain economic unity.

The steps taken by the PWC will need to be adopted by the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature before being implemented.

The section further states that if a provincial executive intervenes in a municipality in terms of Section 139 subsection (1)(b), the intervention must end unless it is approved by the MEC responsible for local government affairs within 14 days of the intervention; it must submit a written notice of the intervention to the MEC and it must be tabled in the provincial legislature and the National Council of Provinces within 14 days of their respective first sittings after the intervention.

Exco members who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Witness senior councillors were criticised for their conduct, which had led to the crisis in the municipality.

They alleged that REC members were also hammered for the municipality’s dismal performance. However, this was not confirmed at the time of going to print.

This is the second constitutional intervention in the municipality’s affairs in the space of less than a month.

Following an announcement by Co-operative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube, a Section 136 intervention was embarked upon whereby a provincial Treasury task team was seconded to the municipality to assess the state of council’s finances.

Recently, council employees embarked on a strike that lasted for a week-and-a-half.

The strikers called for section 139 (c) to be invoked to dissolve the entire council and for the firing of senior (section 57) managers.

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