Government forced to intervene in 46 crisis-ridden municipalities

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
  • During the 2019/2020 financial year, 46 municipalities across the country were subjected to interventions.
  • Poor audit outcomes and political instability have led to municipalities being placed under administration.
  • Cogta presented these statistics to Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on Tuesday.

Poor financial audit outcomes, political instability and high vacancy rates are bedevilling the country's most crisis-ridden municipalities.

In the 2019/20 financial year alone, 46 municipalities were subjected to interventions by either their respective provincial governments or national government.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs painted a bleak picture of some municipalities during a hybrid sitting of Parliament's Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs committee on Tuesday.

Officials presented which municipalities had had section 139 interventions invoked on them.

Interventions under Section 139 of the Constitution are implemented in municipalities facing crises relating to governance and political stability, financial management, service delivery and administrative issues.

Deputy director-general Themba Fosi said in the North West, where the national government intervened due to financial and governance issues, all 22 municipalities (under the auspices of Section 100(1)(a) of the Constitution) were issued with directives in terms of Section 139(1)(a) of the Constitution.

In June 2018, the government implemented an intervention into the North West government in terms of Section 100 of the Constitution, which allows the national executive to intervene in the provincial sphere of government if it has been established the provincial authority cannot fulfill its constitutional obligations.


Fosi said of the 46 municipalities, the North West and KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of interventions, with 14 and 10, respectively.

Some of the interventions in the North West, however, were withdrawn. These include:

- Mafikeng Local Municipality.

- Lekwa Teemane Local Municipality.

- JB Marks Local Municipality.

- Kagisano Molopo Local Municipality.

- Madibeng Local Municipality.

- Tswaing Local Municipality.

- Ratlou Local Municipality.

- Ramotshere Local Municipality.

- Ditsobotla Local Municipality

- Kgetleng-Rivier Local Municipality

- Maquassi Hills Local Municipality

- Mamusa Local Municipality

Included in the 46 municipalities placed under administration were the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) and City of Tshwane metros. The 2019 intervention in the NMB was, however, terminated.

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As of 30 June, 22 interventions were revoked; two were disapproved and 23 municipalities were still under active interventions in the current year, Fosi said.

"Thirty-one municipalities were subjected to interventions in terms of section 139[1][b], with the assumption of responsibilities and the appointment of administrators [or a] provincial representative.

"Twelve municipalities are subjected to financial interventions in terms of Section 139[5] of the Constitution and the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act. [There are] five in Mpumalanga, one in the Western Cape; one in the Free State, two in Gauteng, two in the Eastern Cape and one in the North West," he said.

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