ANC infighting in uMngeni has brought to a halt oversight aimed at improving service delivery and the municipality’s finances.
Oversight of municipal affairs falls squarely on the shoulders of municipal Councillors, in uMngeni this oversight is being compromised by factions within the ANC caucus.
The uMngeni Oversight Committee, which is a committee comprised of MPAC (Municipal Public Accounts Committee) and members of the public nominated by Council was supposed to sit on the 12th of March to consider the 2018/19 Annual Report and the Auditor General’s report on that financial year. The meeting could not sit because except for the ANC chair, no ANC Councillors pitched up to the meeting and only one ANC nominated public member turned up.
The DA’s only public member could not attend as the ANC Speaker of Council unlawfully refused to accept his nomination, so only 4 members of an 8 member committee were present when a quorum of 5 was required. It was embarrassing to watch the chair of the committee, an ANC Councillor, on his phone trying to ascertain where his ANC colleagues were and why they were not at the meeting. Also embarrassing was that not one General Manager or the Municipal Manager (MM) availed themselves for this critical oversight committee.
The meeting was postponed to the 19th of March and this time no nominated members of the public or senior management turned up. 3 ANC councilors were present as well as the DA’s two committee members, Cllr Hazel Lake and Cllr Sandile Mnikati. Although there was a quorum of 5 committee members the DA strenuously opposed the meeting going ahead without the MM or any other senior management present to answer questions on the annual report.
Section 129 (2) (a) of the Municipal Finance Management Act stipulates that the accounting officer (MM) must attend council and committee meetings where the annual report is discussed, for the purpose of answering questions concerning the report. Cllrs Lake and Mnikati rightfully refused to take part in the meeting without the MM present and left breaking the quorum.
Notice was given in time for both meetings but it seems that the ANC factions in uMngeni have permeated so far into the organisation that even officials are boycotting meetings that they are required to attend.
uMngeni’s audit opinion for the 2018/19 year showed a huge regression in all areas.
The DA had prepared many questions for management about the causes of this regression and had come up with proposals to reverse the downward trajectory in uMngeni. Our members of the committee were present and ready to work with the ANC and management to stop the rot that has set in uMngeni.
It is a pity that the ANC is not even prepared to work with themselves and once again oversight in uMngeni has been compromised by a governing party that is so fractured and broken that giving the cold shoulder to those, not within their own camps is more important than serving the people they represent.