The DA in uMshwathi Municipality has been reliably informed that the Speaker of the municipality, who is also a ward councillor, Sbongile Mbatha-Ntuli, has allegedly and unlawfully leased a piece of municipal land, ERF 361, to a resident in Cool-Air.
We have thus written to the Municipal Manager, Mr. Mabaso, requesting that a comprehensive report on this matter be brought to council urgently and that the development currently underway on the property in question be stopped. If the development is not stopped, we will lay criminal charges against both the speaker and the alleged illegal occupier.
It is also clear that the Speaker has breached clause 13 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors, which states that no councillor may use or take a property owned by the municipality to which that councillor has no right. Therefore, we will also be submitting a motion to council, requesting that an investigation be launched into her conduct in terms of clause 15 of the Code of Conduct for councillors.
This is clearly against the Municipal Finance Management Act, which sets out the steps that a municipality must take to dispose of its assets.
The Municipal Finance Management Act makes it clear that an application for buying or leasing a municipal property has to come to the council for approval. However, this application has never been presented to the council for approval. To make matters worse, the property is zoned for residential use, but the illegal occupier is allegedly planning to use the property for commercial purposes. The residents in the area are currently up in arms. The DA in uMshwathi and KZN CoGTA spokesperson, Martin Meyer, will soon be meeting with this community.
We will monitor this issue closely and ensure that everything is done within the confines of the law. We will not allow the ANC in uMshwathi to unlawfully use municipal assets for the benefit of their cadres.