ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli has denied the axing of the eThekwini and Msunduzi executive committees was prompted by court cases against prominent leaders, like Zandile Gumede.
Instead, the redeployments were motivated by a need to address service delivery issues identified by the provincial working committee (PWC) in "distressed" municipalities in the province, Ntuli said in Durban on Tuesday.
News24 reported embattled eThekwini Mayor Gumede and Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo would be asked to step down and redeployed.
Based on a report presented to it by the PWC, the provincial executive committee (PEC) acknowledged the Msunduzi and eThekwini municipalities, where Njilo and Gumede were in charge, "required urgent attention".
"All ANC members serving as exco members in the eThekwini and Msunduzi municipalities would be redeployed with immediate effect," Ntuli said, adding all vacancies would have to be filled within seven days.
"Look, we are not removing comrade Gumede on the basis of their court cases. If that was the logic, why did we remove the exco and mayor of Msunduzi? There is no court case. The decision to redeploy and remove her is purely and solely on the basis of our assessment on the state of the municipality," he explained.
Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail after being arrested earlier this year on corruption charges related to a R208m Durban Solid Waste tender.
Gumede, a strong political figure in the province with ties to former president Jacob Zuma, has been blamed for the City's poor service delivery record.
Ntuli said they were being redeployed and not fired because "the ANC doesn't have a dustbin for its members".
"It's not that this comrade is completely incapable of doing anything. There is nobody like that, it's a question of comrades not being placed in the responsibility and with the collective that complement each other in terms of the qualities, experience and attitude toward their work.
"So, our view is that the current composition as it is now has not been able to be helpful to steer the two cities in the direction that is desirable. We need to dismantle that," he said.
"Over the past few months leading up to the last national general elections, many of our people expressed deep-seated concerns about the state and quality of service delivery provided by some of our municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal."These concerns ranged from issues such as water provision, road infrastructure, housing, refuse removal and of course allegations pertaining to matters of fraud and corruption," said Ntuli.
The PWC held week-long meetings with all municipalities in order to compile their report following many complaints from residents about service delivery in those areas, he added.
Ntuli said the following observations were made:
- First, in certain municipalities there are serious challenges with regard to capacity to raise sufficient revenue due to poor systems and a lack of proper planning;
- The inability to make use of various municipal grants intended to complement municipal revenue in order to speed up service delivery due to poor planning and co-ordination;
- The use of sections 32 and 36 (of the Municipal Finance Management Act) for the purposes of procurement in a manner not consistent with conditions set out by the provincial treasury and therefore inconsistent with the legal regime of our country;
- There is a sustained pattern of wrongdoing and bad decisions taken in certain municipalities with no consequence management applied against those acting outside the ambit of the law and in some instances in a manner that is unethical.
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