BY REGINALD KANYANE
LOCAL Government and human settlements department said the induction programme for all municipal councils is underway. Acting MEC for the department, Fenny Gaolaolwe said they have seen improvements in many local municipalities.
“We can confirm that all five municipalities that were under administration in the province were cleared. There is a lot of improvement in all municipalities and we hope to see more developments. The service delivery has also improved and we encourage our municipalities to implement back to basic programme.
“We also met with Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development department (FEED) two weeks ago. They confirmed that all municipalities are submitting their financial statements monthly. This includes all municipalities that failed to do so in the past,” Gaolaolwe said.
However, Gaolaolwe added that there were still more to address. She said Mamusa and Ditsobotla local municipalities received disclaimer in seven consecutive years.
“We are aware that municipalities like Mamusa and Ditsobotla have received disclaimer in seven consecutive years. However, there is a program in place where incompetent municipalities can make use of. We normally look into the needs of the municipality and see where we can capacitate them. We are also conscious about unravelling situation at Mamusa local municipality. The Audit General reported that the municipality used R305m as wasteful, fruitless and irregular expenditure.
“According to the reports, the municipality also procured services from nine people who have close relations with some of senior officials. Those service providers did not disclose their relations. We have intervened and we decided to put the municipality’s financial structure under administration.
“Our senior administrator in finance will mitigate and make sure the municipality function well. We also met with municipal mayors of all municipalities across the province and requested them to make sure the municipalities function well,” she said.
Gaolaolwe further said they encouraged mayors and municipal managers to implement AG’s audit reports. She added that this will assist them with good governance.
“The department will also make use of consequence management too. We want to see accountability prevailing in all municipalities. We also recommended a good working relationship between municipalities and its communities. We are in a process of doing skill audit.
“The department requested all municipalities to submit its senior managers’ qualifications. The municipalities need to employ competent people with necessary skills. This will reduce the use of consultants because they are costly. The municipalities will submit all the advertised posts to our office to check if they meet requirements before taking them to newspapers for advertising,” she said.
Gaolaolwe said they wanted to do quality assurance and make sure they obtain needed skills. All administrators are still at the municipalities because they need to do a formal hand over to the new councils.
“We are also investigating the claims that Lekwa-Temane local municipal manager does not have relevant qualifications. We have received the report and investigations are underway. There was another issue raised regarding the acting municipal manager for Ditsobotla being paid by Madibeng local municipality.
“It is true and we have also engaged with SCOPA provincial chairperson, Mhlakeng Mahlakeng to address that matter. From now on, he will be paid by Ditsobotla local municipality,” she said.
Ditsobotla acting municipal manager was previously working at Madibeng local municipality and he was transferred to Ditsobotla.
Gaolaolwe also highlighted on Marikana RDP houses. She said the North West High Court ordered the illegal occupants to vacate the area.
“We are now waiting for the law enforcement authorities to implement court order. The court gave those illegal occupants 60 days to vacate the houses. We also request them to vacate the houses and let the housing project continues.
“We urge them to visit our offices to apply for houses by following proper procedure. Those houses have relevant beneficiaries and by so doing they deter the process. We are proudly to announce that flats at Ext 39 in Mahikeng will be in operational come November.
However, the Marikana illegal occupants’ representative, Napoleon Webster said they will never vacate the houses as they belong to them.
“These houses belong to us and no one will force us out. We know that we lost the case, but we have filed for an appeal. We will go to back to court on October 21. The judge did not adhere to our call, so we are adamant that this time we will win. The judgment was biased and we will never budge,” Webster said.
Rustenburg local municipality spokesperson, Thapelo Matebesi said the municipality finds itself in an adverse position. Matebesi said they have to deal with more than 24 informal settlements and a huge backlog of housing provision in its jurisdiction.
“To mitigate this challenge, as per the prescripts of the Housing Act, the municipality has taken all the reasonable and necessary steps within the national and provincial policy framework. We have provided our residents with decent accommodation as done during the process of integrated development planning in the recent years.
“Lawful beneficiaries were identified through extensive consultation with the community. The illegal occupation and pending threats of intensified illegal occupation continue to cause the delay for the completion of the project,” Matebesi.