Progress in troubled Mpuma municipalities

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pretoria - Four municipalities in Mpumalanga which were put under administration following last year's service delivery protests are showing some improvements.

Spokesperson for the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance in Mpumalanga, Simphiwe Kunene, said according to their monthly reports, significant progress has been made in dealing with the challenges that faced the Pixely Ka Seme, Mkhondo, Lekwa and Thaba Chweu municipalities.

In Pixely Ka Seme, all the recommendations have been implemented in terms of the conducted investigations and a new Speaker and Mayor have been elected after the previous two councillors resigned.

The municipality has approved its budget, after thorough consultation with the community.

The Administrator, Siboshwa Nkosi, was recalled and his deputy Khaya Mpungose was left to continue with the remaining work. Mpungose will provide support until the appointment of a Municipal Manager has been finalised, he said.

In Mkhondo Local Municipality, 14 officials have been suspended after the Municipal Manager and Chief Financial Officer resigned.

Twelve officials were subjected to disciplinary hearings and all were found guilty. Three officials were dismissed and sanctions are pending for the other nine officials.

Five councillors were recalled by their party and criminal charges were laid against two of the recalled councillors for selling an RDP house.

The recalled councillors have since been replaced with new councillors, after the recent by-elections in January.

In Lekwa Municipality, disciplinary processes have been instituted against all officials implicated in any wrong doing, and the necessary processes have been instituted to recover funds from all those who have incorrectly received payments.

Some cases have also been handed over to the Special Investigation Unit and the Asset Forfeiture Unit for further investigation and action. The municipality has also paid all outstanding payments to Eskom.

Seven councillors have subsequently resigned namely the Executive Mayor, the Speaker, the Chief Whip, and the four Mayoral Committee Members.

These have since been replaced with new councillors after the recent by-elections in January.

In Thaba Chweu, the Municipal Manager has been placed on special leave. The Executive Mayor and 10 councillors were recalled by the ANC and some of the vacancies were filled during the recent by-elections.

The department is in the process of filling in the posts that have been left vacant by the dismissed officials.