MEC warns defaulting councillors

2014-01-17 00:00

MUNICIPAL councillors who are found to have defaulted on their rates payments stand to lose their jobs.

The KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nomusa Dube-Ncube, in a statement released yesterday, said she has instructed municipal councils in all KZN’s 61 municipalities to institute disciplinary action against any councillor found to have defaulted on their rates. She called it a “violation of the councillors’ code of conduct”.

The tough stance by Dube-Ncube comes after an in-depth investigation by her department on a number of compliance issues by municipal office bearers and officials, including investigations into payments of rates by councillors, which is a universal obligation of all municipal residents except those who qualify as indigent.

The departmental investigation has revealed that a total of R1,5 million is owed by councillors to various municipalities throughout KZN.

Reacting to the outcome of the investigation, Dube-Ncube said, “I am deeply disturbed to learn that there are councillors who are not leading by example in municipalities by not paying their dues to the municipalities which they represent.

“While the number of delinquent local government leaders is relatively small, we nevertheless view their conduct in a serious light because they are bringing their municipalities into disrepute. We need a local government that is professional, delivery-driven and free of the ills we have witnessed in the past. As leaders we cannot honestly ask communities to pay for their municipal services when we ourselves are not walking the talk.

“Those councillors who wish to dispute their account bills, must take the necessary steps speedily as we cannot allow this figure to accumulate any further. Our municipalities can ill afford councillors who owe rates while they depend for their livelihoods on ordinary ratepayers.”

Dube-Ncube has also vowed to extend the investigation to civil servants in every other sphere of government as well as MPs and MPLs in the province.

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