Cogta to take over running of strife-torn municipality

2012-09-21 00:00

THE strife-torn Mtubatuba Municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal has been placed under administration by MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional affairs (Cogta), Nomusa Dube.

Mtubatuba was one of 20 hung municipalities in KZN after last year’s local government election. It was eventually ruled by a coalition of the National Freedom Party (NFP) and the ANC.

However, this relationship broke down and the ANC mayor was ousted. The NPF councillors in the municipality then joined forces with the IFP. However, ANC and NFP provincial leaders intervened, re-affirming their coalition, but this was not accepted by the Mtubatuba councillors.

Dube confirmed yesterday that the administrative collapse at the municipality was due to internal strife. She said operations at the municipality had almost ground to a halt. Dube listed the problems bedevilling the municipality. These included councillors disrupting meetings by staging “walk-outs”, so key decisions could not be made; budgetary constraints were ignored; councillors interfered in the appointment of staff and entered into legally binding contracts that the municipality could not afford.

Dube said one creditor was already proceeding to attach municipal assets and had taken the municipality to court over a cancelled R1,4 million contract.

She added that the council failed to implement the findings of a forensic investigation that had been carried out and there was evidence of ongoing irregular activities by staff. According to Dube, there was still a need to review the sale of prime municipal property in St Lucia for R4,5 million.

Placing the municipality under administration means that Cogta will take over the functions of the mayor and managers. Dube said that the provincial cabinet had taken a decision that an administrator will be appointed to turn around the municipality and restore order, financial stability and ensure delivery of basic services.

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