The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has written (view here) to provincial CoGTA Chairperson, Zinhle Cele, to request an urgent portfolio committee meeting, to be attended by all eight municipal administrators in the province.
The call comes as KZN’s municipalities continue to collapse and as the critical municipal intervention tool of municipalities being placed under administration becomes a mockery due to its ineffectiveness.
The DA’s call comes as the province’s COGTA Department under MEC Sihle Zikalala, continues to show a lack of concern despite the situation. It also comes as COGTA-appointed administrators continue to fail in their duties, raising serious questions around capability.
Then there is the issue of political interference – which is becoming increasingly clear – making it very difficult for some administrators to effectively do their jobs.
The purpose of the meeting the DA has called for is get administrators to provide information on turn-around strategies and advise about the challenges they are facing. This is the only way that solutions can be found.
There are currently eight KZN municipalities that remain under administration, with very little progress seen to date. These municipalities are Mpofana, Msunduzi, Inkosi Langalibalele, UThukela, Umzinyathi, Abaqulusi, Mtubatuba and uMkhanyakude.
Msunduzi is a glaring example of the failure by administrators to bring about positive change. Ever-failing water and electricity infrastructure continues to leave residents in the dark and without water for hours and sometimes days on end.
Despite this, the municipality continues to spend millions of Rands on ‘nice to haves’. A prime example is the recent Last Dance event which saw the city spend R3million. This is money that should have been spent on improving services and coming to the aid of increasingly desperate people.
In uThukela, water services also remain a serious problem, with the DA having asked the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to intervene. In Abaqulusi we recently saw residents been subjected to extra rotational load shedding due to outstanding ESKOM debt. The situation is not much better in other municipalities.
Even the President has admitted that municipalities are failing under an ANC-run government and has vowed to improve this situation. In KZN he needs to start by focussing on municipalities under administration and get them working again. The DA-run uMngeni will provide him with all the evidence he needs that a failing municipality can be turned into a shining example of good governance. We invite him to come and see for himself.
The DA sincerely hope that the COGTA Chairperson will treat our request for an urgent meeting with the seriousness it deserves. The time to act is now. KZN’s people can no longer live like this.