Municipal takeover imminent

2013-01-28 00:00

AN administrator will soon be heading to the Imbabazane Municipality, near Estcourt, after the provincial government formally announced a takeover on Friday.

The official, yet to be named, will remain at the municipality until there is political stability and service delivery, Co-operative Governance Department spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said yesterday.

“That person will have the overwhelming responsibility to ensure the municipality functions properly and also to supervise staff, departments and operations of the municipality.”

Mabaso made the comments after MEC Nomusa Dube visited the council on Friday to announce it was being put under administration. She did not give the administrator’s name.

The municipality is the third in the province to be placed under administration following Indaka and Mtubatuba.

Dube’s action followed a request by the ANC for the provincial government to intervene, a decision it took last Monday without consulting the National Freedom Party, its alliance partner in the council.

The municipality was plunged into political turmoil in June last year when NFP and Inkatha Freedom Party councillors passed a vote of no confidence against ANC mayor Phindile Strydom and speaker Mondli Mkhize.

Strydom and Mkhize have yet to be reinstated after the provincial government won a court order setting aside the meeting that had deposed the duo.

The department has vowed to oppose an appeal against the order. Dube said: “We will not allow power games to destabilise our municipalities. Councillors need to think and recite the oath of office they took every time they consider taking decisions.

“It is unfortunate that we find ourselves left with no option but to act decisively to protect the interest of the communities.”

Mabaso said the takeover would be independent of any legal processes and the administrator would be empowered to conduct investigations into the affairs of the municipality.

“We will leave the issues of court to the courts to decide, but there is a ruling that concurred with the department [that Strydom and Mkhize should be returned to their posts].”

Mabaso added there would be “consequences” for council decisions taken at the time when Strydom and Mkhize should have been reinstated.

The NFP could not be reached for comment yesterday, but it has threatened to complain about the alleged abuse of power by Dube to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Mabaso said the party was within its rights to approach any competent authority over the intervention.

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