Appointment aimed at stabilising affairs

2018-02-21 06:02

The Free State Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has appointed Mokete Duma as municipal manager of the trouble-ridden Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality.

The municipality administers Harrismith, Kestell and the greater Qwaqwa which includes Phuthaditjhaba.

Duma’s appointment on interim basis is a concerted effort to try and stabilise affairs of the beleaguered municipality.

A statement issued by the department indicated that Duma will oversee the affairs of the municipality over 28 days and that an investigation into the disarrays of the municipality will be conducted. A report will then be compiled.

A letter would then be written to the national minister of Cogta to inform him of the intervention evoked by the province.

MEC Sisi Ntombela conveyed on behalf of the Free State executive the decision to place the cash-strapped Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality under section 139. (1)(b).

The terms and conditions attached to this intervention, among others, is to look at the municipality’s financial viability, their inability to pay third parties, medical aids, staff, Eskom debt and the provision of services in a broader spectrum.

The intervention is entrenched on the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, chapter 7, section 139 sub (1). In addition, the provincial executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfilment of that obligation including (1)(b) – assuming the responsibility of the municipality.

The National Coun- cil of Provinces and the Free State Legislature are expected to conduct an oversite- visit to the municipality to verify the claims made against the municipality within 108 days.

According to Leona Kleynhans, DA member of the Free State legislature, the process could last several years based on sentiments and irregularities which caused the collapse of the council.

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