JB Marks municipality avoids full-on administration order, but North West govt. likely to send in reinforcements

Job Mokgoro. (Tebogo Letsie, City Press)
Job Mokgoro. (Tebogo Letsie, City Press)

North West Premier Professor Job Mokgoro could appoint an administrator to oversee the improvement of certain areas under the control of the JB Marks municipality once approved by the province's Executive Council.

In a joint statement release by the premier, Cooperative Governance MEC Mothibedi Kegakilwe and JB Marks Mayro Khotso Khumlao following a meeting on Friday, the parties said: "Once approved by the Executive Council, an Administrator will be appointed only for the specific areas contained in the terms of reference."

The municipality was formerly known as the Tlokwe local municipality before it merged with the Ventersdorp local municipality in 2016, after months of protests in the area.

Mokgoro visited the municipality on Friday, accompanied by Kegakilwe and Khumalo.

Municipal spokesperson Victor Boqo said the purpose of the meeting was to hear from the technical committee which was established by Mokgoro three weeks ago to assess whether the council needed to be placed under administration.

The move seemed to confirmed several weeks ago, before council officials met Mokgoro's office and the provincial government to discuss a way forward.

READ: JB Marks Municipality in the North West placed under administration

Friday's visit was to ensure that it was in line with an executive council resolution, but also, and most importantly, in compliance with the Constitution.

"The meeting reaffirmed the decision of the executive council to intervene in the municipality. In this spirit, the meeting acknowledged that the municipality has so far complied with directives issued by the department.

"However, there are areas of weakness that should be addressed through the escalation of the intervention to the section of placing the municipality under administration," said Boqo.

He added that Mokgoro had directed Kegakilwe to present refined terms of reference to the executive council that addressed direct and specific areas of challenges in the municipality while appreciating and acknowledging areas where performance of the municipality was satisfactory.

"Once approved by the executive council, an administrator will be appointed only for the specific areas contained in the terms of reference.

"The premier reiterated the view of the provincial government that JB Marks is a critical capacity municipality and this intervention is intended to strengthen and maintain the good work the municipality is renowned for," Boqo said.

News24 earlier reported that the reason the municipality was placed under administration was after it received a disclaimer of opinion from the Auditor-General in the 2016/2017 financial year.

ALSO READ: JB Marks council rejects North West govt's decision to place the municipality under administration

The municipality received a qualified audit opinion the following year - by no means a glowing endorsement of its financial status, but an improvement nonetheless.

The municipality claimed in a statement that, "according to the communication received from the province it has identified several areas where it feels it is struggling in relation to service delivery".

"The purpose of the intervention is to work with the municipality and provide support and build capacity in those areas it has identified.

"The municipality is responding and providing information to account for all those areas flagged by the province and in which it is thought that it has fallen short. The province will provide a full briefing in this regard to the council at the earliest opportune time," it stated.

The municipality has been plagued by allegations of corruption.

In June last year, The Citizen reported that R45m had been spent on upgrading a stadium in the area but only one toilet had been built.

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