New deal: City in limbo

2019-04-17 16:57
City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM

City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM (File)

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When is the administrator coming?

That is the question that echoes through the corridors of the City Hall as municipal officials and councillors remain in limbo about the plans for Msunduzi since the municipality was placed under administration last Tuesday.

Many had expected the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube to announce the name of the ministerial representative to steer the City out of dyfunctionality when she invoked section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution — which is aimed at restoring and improving the ailing municipality’s functionality.

At the time she indicated that the name of the administrator would be revealed soon and this was later reiterated by Cogta’s spokesperson Lennox Mabaso last Wednesday.

He said the intervention team — consisting of provincial and national Cogta officials — would be at Msunduzi within the next few days, but that has not happened.

Meanwhile, this week some City officials expressed their concerns about the delayed arrival of the administrator — whose identity still remains unknown.

“Normally the MEC introduces the administrator to the municipality when she places it under administration because he is supposed to hit the ground running, so to speak, but now we don’t know what’s going on and even the leadership seems to be in limbo,” said a senior official.

Another said there were decisions that the City management and council could no longer make without the guidance of the administrator.

“They can still carry out most of their normal functions, but things like appointments of contractors and council resolutions can’t be done without an administrator having assessed the potential impact of those decisions on the municipality’s finances or service delivery matters,” he said.

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola said they were expecting Dube-Ncube to introduce the administrator before starting with a roadshow to engage communities on Cogta’s intervention. He was referring to her meeting with Caluza residents on Friday where she explained why the provincial government had placed Msunduzi under administration and the plan to restore it to functionality.

“As the DA we are eager to meet him because we want to an opportunity to brief him on the things that brought us to this state of dysfunctionality. We also want to hear what his recovery plan entails because we want to see where we can assist because we want our municipality to get out of this situation.”

Majola said the City could not afford further delays in dealing with service delivery issues that have left many residents frustrated.

“The sooner the administrator and his team arrive, the sooner we can all get to work.”

He said he hoped they would be introduced to the executive committee at tomorrow’s meeting.

ACDP’s Reinus Niemand said if Dube-Ncube was serious about turning the City around, then she would have come with the administrator to last week’s full council meeting.

“The problem that I have is that this whole thing [intervention] is a political move — it’s not in the interest of the municipality … It’s pointless placing the municipality under administration when there is no administrator,” he said.

Cogta was expected to shed light on the identities of the intervention team on Monday but Mabaso later said it would be done on Tuesday and that still did not happen.

“At this point in time the department is still leading the intervention process. We are busy finalising our high-calibre team that will be leading the turnaround in the municipality because we want a real, fast and sustainable one in this municipality,” Mabaso said on Tuesday afternoon.

He said a media statement on the administrator and his team would be issued later this week.

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