KZN MEC takes drastic steps

2009-12-14 19:20

Durban - Mayors and municipal managers of three KwaZulu-Natal municipalities have been stripped of their executive powers following serious allegations of corruption, nepotism and maladministration in their municipalities.

“Umhlabuyalingana, Ukhahlamba and Indaka municipalities have been placed under administration. This means that responsibilities assigned to the municipal managers have been assumed by the provincial executive council,” said Local Government MEC Nomusa Dube on Monday.

Addressing the media in Pietermaritzburg, Dube said the decision had been taken after the provincial executive council convened to consider the reports of the three municipalities.

The Inkatha Freedom Party, which runs the three municipalities, has welcomed the decision to appoint administrators.

IFP national organiser  said they would work with the MEC to ensure the situation was turned around.

Dube said the situation in Umhlabuyalingana Municipality in northern Zululand had deteriorated to such an extent that the municipality was borrowing money to pay for salaries of staff and service providers.

“The municipality is bedevilled by serious allegations of corruption, nepotism and maladministration,” she said.

The forensic investigation commissioned by the department had found that there was fraud, corruption and mismanagement of funds.

R14m unaccounted for

Mncwango said his party had instructed the municipality caucus to suspend Eric Manqele, the municipal manager, and the chief financial officer, Mthandeni Zungu.

The trio had taken the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, he said.

About R14m could not be accounted for, Dube said.

Finances were in a state of disarray in the Ukhahlamba Municipality, Dube said.

The municipality was also struggling to achieve its service delivery mandates.

“There were serious deficiencies in management systems, accounting and financial controls. A total amount of R20m allocated for housing was utilised irregularly to finance operations,” said Dube.

Dube said the Indaka Municipality also suffered from serious financial management problems.

“Despite the fact that the municipality is 99.7% dependant on the equitable share and has not capacity to raise its own revenue, it has, however, appointed seven senior managers,” said Dube.

This had resulted in the municipality experiencing serious cash-flow problems and it had accumulated a deficit of R8.4m.

“The total salary bill of the employees accounts for 51% of the operating expenditure of the municipality. This means that the municipality is only left with 49% of the budget to discharge its day to day responsibilities,” said Dube.

Performance contracts

Dube said the administrators would be subjected to performance contracts “aligned with the recovery plan for each municipality”.

She warned the three affected municipalities she would not hesitate to dissolve the councils if they did not co-operate with the administrators.

Dube said she had liaised with the IFP before the decision to appoint administrators was made.

“I must say that I was impressed to learn that the leadership is recognising the shortcomings and is very candid about the challenges,” she said.

Mncwango said his party was happy that Dube had handled the matter in a constructive way.

“We have been involved in the process and we are very happy that something is being done to correct the situation,” he said.