Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has called on the sixth administration of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality to put the interests of communities first.
The Minister made the call during his introduction of the National Cabinet Representative (NCR) and technical support team for Mangaung, which was placed under administration earlier this year.
The national Section 139(7) intervention in the metro was approved by Cabinet on 6 April 2022.
“[The] primary responsibility [of the National Cabinet Representative and technical support team] is to stabilise this municipality by ensuring the implementation of the Financial Recovery Plan (FRP), on behalf of Cabinet.
“The team is here to ensure that the financial and service delivery problems in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality are addressed.
“In this regard, Cabinet has appointed a team from Ntiyiso Consulting, led by Mr Paul Maseko, to help the municipality on its road to recovery,” said Godongwana.
The Minister said Ntiyiso has been in the local government space for a number of years.
“Their experience and expertise, along with your unreserved support and willingness to implement the FRP, will ensure the improvement of the financial and service delivery performance.”
The sixth term of the metro, which began in November 2021, coincides with formidable challenges faced by the municipality.
“Mangaung is under administration… and it saddens me that despite such intervention, no visible improvement can be found in your financial and service delivery performance.
“It is this situation that has necessitated that a more severe model of intervention is put in place, in order to protect the communities and people of Mangaung and to improve financial and service delivery performance in the municipality.
“This is among the first metropolitan municipalities to experience this severe level of financial and service delivery distress. Whilst service delivery in this municipalities has deteriorated over the years, it has accelerated over the recent period,” Godongwana said.
Steps toward improvement
The Minister said the interface between political and administrative leadership needs to be improved if this municipality is to be stabilised.
He reminded councillors that in the democratic dispensation, there are provisions in place to deal with political and administrative infighting, as well as factionalism, “especially when these continue to impede service delivery”.
“It is disheartening to see roads riddled with potholes, with little effort made to speedily execute the required repairs.
“For too long, basic and critical infrastructure has been allowed to fall into disrepair. This is but one of the obvious signs of municipal dysfunction. This is extremely disappointing, given the massive potential that this council must deliver quality services and uplift the people of Mangaung.
“I stand here before you, the new council, which has been in office for a period of six months since the November 2021 local government elections, pleading that you put the interests of communities first.”
Godongwana urged those in the council not to use their privilege and power for personal gain.
“During the past few months, reports have been shared with me that indicate divisions and factionalism are rife in this council. These reports indicate that key decisions of the council are not being taken or delayed due to internal divisions.
“For example, the budget of the municipality was only approved at the third attempt, instead of being adopted, as per the legal requirements, by the 20th of May 2022. This does not inspire confidence in your ability to govern. It also sends worrying signals to investors.”
Financial Recovery Plan
For the successful implementation of the Financial Recovery Plan, support and guidance are needed.
Said Godongwana: “There also must be an attitude by the leadership that invests its energies in core service delivery initiatives. Get the basics right and you can achieve great things.
“This council is in a position to drag the municipality out of its current dysfunctional state. You must concentrate on positioning the Mangaung Metro as a trustworthy, performance-geared, and caring instrument of the people’s will.”
The NCR is expected to deepen the Section 139(7) National Intervention, which was launched by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in April.
The Minister expressed confidence that with the help of Ntiyiso, the metro will get on the right track.
“Mr Maseko is delegated the authority to oversee this intervention, on behalf of the national Cabinet. It is important to emphasise that processes are already underway to update the existing FRP and to set new targets and timeframes for the implementation of FRP activities.
“Your municipality must implement these FRP activities and strive to meet targets and timeframes. Mr Maseko will oversee this process. He will provide regular updates to council and Cabinet on progress made, and on any blockages that arise. He will also ensure that every decision made in this municipality is in full compliance with the FRP.” – SAnews.gov.za