Tim Brauteseth, MPL – KZN Permanent Member of the National Council of Provinces
Yesterday’s first day of the joint National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and KwaZulu-Natal Legislature oversight week in the province was disappointingly turned into a post mortem exercise by Mpofana municipal officials – one that will yield few, if any results.
Instead of being the inquisitorial exercise it is supposed to be, Members of the NCOP and the Legislature were subjected to four hours of endless briefings before they were finally able to get their teeth into the actual business of the day – the grilling of Mpofana Mayor, Xolani Duma, the individual who is largely responsible for the impending collapse of this local municipality.
According to the Auditor-General’s 2017/18 report, Mpofana has received unfavourable audit opinions for the last five consecutive years. This is due to senior management’s failure to take accountability and institutionalise the basic disciplines of record management, reconciliations and fundamental reviews in the areas of revenue, asset management and compliance with laws and regulations.
Equally alarming was yesterday’s proud proclamation by Mayor Duma that he is also the Speaker of the Council after which he promptly launched a wave of attacks on everyone around him, implicating all and sundry for the woes of the ailing municipality.
When the DA questioned the Mayor on the complete failure of consequence management in relation to those responsible for soaring irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, his response was that the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) was a perfect example of the ‘over-regulation’ of municipalities and was ultimately responsible for the poor performance of service delivery in the municipality.
The DA is stunned by the Mayor’s response which bodes badly for any form of good governance. It also shows just how little the Mayor knows about the MFMA which is the backbone of municipal financial oversight. Without it, there is no answerability from those who are entrusted with public funds.
The DA will not allow this matter to rest. Yesterday’s visit to this community has shown that this ANC-led Council does not put the interests of the people of Mpofana first. As a result, the DA will campaign actively for the removal of this arrogant Mayor and others within the municipality who are not fit to fill the role of public servants. We remain committed to ensuring an efficient, fully capacitated municipality on behalf of the residents of Mpofana.