Minister announces dissolution of the Mnquma Municipality

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eastern Cape - The Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Sicelo Shiceka on Monday announced the dissolution of the Mnquma Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, effectively placing it under administration.

The department had two months earlier embarked on provincial stakeholder meetings in the province following reports of corruption and incompetent officials.

According to the department, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has been brought in to further investigate incidents of corruption that have been detected in the municipality.

The SIU is in the process of signing an agreement with the department with the sole purpose of rooting out corruption in provincial and local spheres of government throughout the country.

Referring to the situation in Mnquma, Minister Shiceka said "corruptees and corruptors will have nowhere to hide."

"Not only are there high levels of corruption in this municipality, but there are also officials who seem to have no interest whatsoever in delivering services to our people," he explained, adding that all these factors have combined to render the municipality ineffective.

Minister Shiceka had agreed with provincial MEC for Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs, Thoko Xasa, to place the municipality under administration because of its ineffectiveness and inefficiency to carry out its mandate due to a combination of factors.

The municipality is located in the south eastern part of the Eastern Cape Province, falling under the jurisdiction of the Amathole District Municipality and comprises an amalgamation of the former Butterworth, Ngqamakhwe and Centane TRC's.

Mnquma Local Municipality has a total population of approximately 297663 people, 99 percent of which are Xhosa speaking.

Following months of intensive work carried out under the leadership of provincial co-ordinators, Minister Shiceka appointed a team of senior national and provincial government officials set up after his provincial visit in November.

This team is also investigating other municipalities including Mbhashe, Nkonkobe, Buffalo City, Amahlathi, Koukamma and Ukhahlamba where over 100 babies and toddlers died as a result of water contamination about 15 months ago.

"The team is moving in swiftly on Koukamma which is in a crisis situation despite the fact that we as the department had already moved in to intervene with the assistance of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut in December, to improve quality service delivery," said Minister Shiceka.

He added all these interventions, in partnership with private sector organisations like the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (AHI) and the Special Investigations Unit, were focused on making life better for South Africans.