The DA in KwaZulu-Natal renews its call to Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube to urgently intervene over the growing crisis within eThekwini municipality and implement Section 139 of the Constitution, placing it under provincial administration.
The extent of the disastrous state of KZN’s only metro cannot be understated. The Premier, or whoever she decides to appoint as her new COGTA MEC, must act now.
Recent events in cities such as Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni also show that this ANC government appears to be hell-bent on destroying South Africa’s metros. Nowhere is this more evident than in eThekwini.
The Auditor-General’s (AG) report, which came before a recent eThekwini council meeting, is just the latest in a series of alarm bells. Regrettably, the Premier and her two previous COGTA MECs seem to have selective hearing.
With R1.5 billion in irregular expenditure, no action or consequence management, and a fast-worsening financial and debt situation, there are serious questions as to whether eThekwini is still a going concern.
Equally worrying is that the report states that the metro has only met 46% of its targeted objectives for water, sanitation, and electricity. This while large parts of the city’s residents reel from constant water and electricity outages and as sewerage still flows unabated into its rivers.
The AG’s report on financial instability follows weeks of political instability. This includes the removal of the Deputy Mayor through a motion of no-confidence, the ANC and EFF boycotting a council meeting to elect a new Deputy Mayor, and a motion of no-confidence looming against Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.
In November last year, as a result of the ongoing sewerage crisis, the DA called on the then COGTA MEC, Sihle Zikalala, to invoke Section 139 of the Constitution and place the metro under administration.
The MEC ignored this call, going so far as to state that eThekwini was recovering well and that there were no problems in the metro. While no one is mourning the departure of the former Premier and MEC, the city continues to suffer as a result of his inaction.
The time for turning a blind eye to the crisis in eThekwini is over. The Premier and incoming MEC for COGTA must act. As the centre of economic life in our province and home to millions of our citizens, the Premier needs to remember that if eThekwini fails, KZN fails.
The DA will, in the coming days, announce plans to highlight this matter and bring pressure to bear on this ANC-run provincial government. It is time that the Premier and her executive stopped twiddling their thumbs and acted in the best interests of KZN’s residents.