The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has shown no signs of improvement in its finances and levels of service delivery despite being placed under administration by the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs earlier this year.
This was according to Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, who on Friday formally introduced a national Cabinet representative, Paul Maseko from Ntiyiso Consulting, and a multi-disciplinary team of experts appointed to help the municipality get its house in order.
Godongwana said the state of the municipality had necessitated a more severe model of intervention to be put in place.
Last month, the Auditor General, Tsakani Maluleke, reported that the Mangaung metro spent less than 2% of its infrastructure budget on repairs and maintenance, resulting in a deterioration of infrastructures, such as roads and water networks.
The Auditor General found that even though the metro held public participation sessions where the needs of the community were received and planned for, many of those targets were not achieved because they were not prioritised and/or because of a lack of funding.
Irregular expenditure remained high. The lack of consequences has created a culture of impunity and a complete disregard for the rule of law at all levels of municipal officials.
READ: No longer a city of roses
Maluleke found that in 2020, the municipality forfeited a R429 million grant from the national Treasury due to underspending, despite the desperate needs of the metro.
He pleaded with the council that’s been in the office for six months to put the interests of communities first.
“The welfare of the people must be your priority. You should not use the privilege and power of the leadership positions that you have been elected to for other interests or personal gain. You should do your utmost to uphold the values of the Constitution and the sanctity of political power.”
He said Maseko and his team’s primary responsibility was to stabilise the municipality by ensuring the implementation of the Financial Recovery Plan (FRP) on behalf of the Cabinet and oversee processes that were already under way, update the existing FRP and set new targets and time frames for the implementation of its activities.