Following a joint oversight of municipalities in the Zululand District by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Legislature during this past week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is of the view that KZN municipalities are in distress.
The week was a non-comedy of errors in terms of mismanagement, poor planning and disorganisation which saw the programme change repeatedly, long distance travelling, unprepared municipalities and late night meetings.
The way things are organized is usually an indication of what the outcome will be. If we are to take the work of oversight seriously, go to the lengths of incurring costs, and have the NCOP join us, then we must do so properly.
In a last minute frantic effort to hustle a report together, members of the NCOP and KZN legislature were expected to accept a flawed, incomplete and poorly put together document.
The DA rejects this report as, not only does the process flout the KZN legislature’s own rules, but its value to the citizens of KZN is meaningless. Good governance must begin with proper organisation, accountability, structures and procedures which need to be respected and obeyed.
This shambolic approach to tick-boxing functions of government, without addressing the real issue of service delivery, is symptomatic of how the municipalities in the province are run.
The truth is that in every municipality we visited leaders use the funds of the municipality as their own personal piggy banks. Mayors act with impunity and COGTA is unable to deal effectively with them.
Only one municipality and one district received unqualified audits. This shows that there is an inability to deliver basic services and manage the finances of the state. This is directly as a result of corruption, a lack of consequence management, arrogance and party political interference. The finances of Zululand municipalities are in the toilet.
Every single municipality does not have enough cash on hand to operate for more than 6 days never mind the three months, which is financially prudent.
It is also notable that two of the biggest municipalities, which are ANC run, unlike the IFP run municipalities, were not considered for oversight. Are the ANC afraid of what would be uncovered in Msunduzi and EThekwini?
Unfortunately for the people of KZN it is unclear between the ANC and IFP which is worse at running governments. The Democratic Alliance only cares about the people of KZN and we will not be afraid to speak out against any political party that we see failing in its primary mandate to deliver services to people.
It is entirely possible to achieve unqualified audits because we have a province doing it over several years in every municipality that it governs.
COGTA must explain what it is going to do to arrest the decline of municipalities in our province. The DA will be submitting questions to the MEC which we hope he will answer about the many other irregularities we have uncovered in our visits.