Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP Spokesperson on CoGTA
Dr Cedric Xulu,
Chairperson of IFP Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation
IFP Head Office, Durban
As the IFP we have called today's Press Briefing because we felt it necessary to deal with the state of local government in KwaZulu-Natal, with a particular emphasis on the recent Constitution Section 139 (1)(c) intervention instituted by the MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube into Mtubatuba Local Municipality, in response to the removal of the ANC Mayor in favour of an IFP/NFP Coalition Mayor.
Earlier today the MEC briefed the NCOP on the procedural, substantive and the constitutionality of the notice of the intervention issued in terms of section 139 (1)(c) of the Constitution, 1996 to Mtubatuba Local Municipality. We firmly believe that the MEC has erred in her judgement and she has made an irrational and erratic decision that flies in the face of sanity, based on emotions and party politics. In our 2011 Local Government Election Campaign we, the IFP, made a commitment to the people of South Africa that we would ensure the restoration of clean and good governance and the prioritization of service delivery in local government. The crisis in Mtubatuba challenges us to live up to this commitment.
Our approach to development has always been to strengthen the weak, and not weaken the strong. The dissolution of Mtubatuba will weaken the weak, poor, suffering and vulnerable and strengthen the treacherous and ulterior tendencies of the ANC.
Since 2011 we have continuously warned that the NFP/ANC coalition in the 19 hung municipalities would end up in disaster and would collapse into failure without serving the interests of the people. This has come to pass. Mtubatuba Local Municipality was one of those municipalities. NFP Councillors have persistently refused to work with ANC, resulting in several changes of power. The NFP/ANC Coalition has been purely ineffective and in 2012/2013 Mtubatuba has come to a grinding halt because of the power struggle between the NFP and the ANC. The audit outcomes of over the past 3 years are as follows:
From the ashes of an ANC leadership this is a municipality that is well on track to recovery following the election of an IFP Speaker who has diligently steered the ship, albeit the challenges. The MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has been wholly irrational in how she has dealt with this matter, and her intervention is 3 years late and no longer required because the IFP has in fact rescued the municipality.
The Municipality has successfully held, without fail, all Council Meetings as required by the law. The budget has been consecutively and successfully passed without fail. The Integrated Development Plans have been properly formulated after following all due processes of the law. If the ANC had a shred of integrity they should have disciplined their councillors, and not the people of Mtubatuba through the dissolution of their municipality.
The municipality has been under intervention since 2012 and has shown key signs of improvement since then. Section 137 was instituted in March 2012, and Section 139 (1)(b) was instituted in September 2012 with the introduction of Mr Khayo Mpungose and was replaced by Mr Bamba Ndwandwe in January 2014 as administrators; the latter is on record that the performance and functionality of the Municipality has improved from 18% to 59%. In October 2014, the Premier and the MEC made a commitment to revisit the situation at Mtubatuba in March 2015, thus making the February 2015 intervention premature and without basis. The IFP cannot in good faith accept that the MECs reasoning is rational nor is it in the interests of the people of Mtubatuba for the following reasons:
1. The Municipality has been on an improvement trajectory and has been managing its finances satisfactorily; as cited above with audit opinions moving from a disclaimer to unqualified.
2. The decision to intervene in terms of Section 139(1)(c) is political because the MEC in her capacity as ANC deputy provincial secretary is responding to ANC faction fights which are at play in their Far North Region (Mkhanyakude).
3. The collapse of the NFP/ANC coalition is the main reason for this intervention because it is obvious that the IFP is regrouping.
4. As at the end of the June 2014, Mtubatuba Municipality ranked in the Top 3 Municipalities on its Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) spending.
5. The areas of concern of the MEC regarding the provision of water are misplaced because water services are not a local municipality competence; the MEC should in fact be directing her tirade towards Mkhanyakude District.
6. Municipal councils should never be seen as subordinate structures of government especially to the point that they are stripped of their autonomy and legitimacy.
7. A comprehensive recovery plan, compiled by the administrator, was adopted by the Full Council in June 2014 and a progress report on the recovery plan was tabled in November 2014 citing that there had been significant improvement in the operations of the municipality.
8. The MEC has been a source of political instability and is now desperate to redeem herself in government and in the ANC.
9. The taxpayer will, through the IEC, incur hefty costs for the by-elections of all 19 wards and moreover with the 2016 Local Government Elections on the horizon it serves no purpose to hold elections now.
The IFP has noted the request by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Pravin Gordhan, MP, mooting the idea that Nkandla Municipality will be disestablished and absorbed into a new Metropolitan Municipality in Richards Bay, which is 150km from Nkandla. In this regard the IFP wishes to assure the ANC that this sinister motive will be met with the highest level of resistance.
There is nothing genuine about this proposal, all it seeks to do is create a bogus Metropolitan Municipality designed to allay and appease the anxieties of President Zuma as the ANC cannot stomach the fact that he resides in an IFP controlled municipality. Service delivery is already well under way in Nkandla, and there is nothing to suggest that a Metro would do any better; rather Metros always lean towards the interests of urban areas and therefore the people of Nkandla would in fact be hard done by in this regard.
We are also aware that the ANC has done a study which has indicated to them that chances of winning Nkandla in the local elections are very slim. This proposal is thus an ulterior response to secure victory, banking on the support the ANC enjoys in Mhlathuze as a large voting bloc. We are aware of efforts and plans to flood Nkandla with national ministers and MECs are also in the offing as a response to the findings of their study. This proposal is thus not in the interests of development of the people but rather about protecting the political publicity interests the President. Moreover, this proposal bears no logic given that Nkandla is on average 150 km away from Richards Bay, and therefore the geographical composition of this bogus-Metro are peculiar and amoebic. Whenever the ANC does not govern they abuse the state machinery, in this case the Municipal Demarcation Board, to satisfy their desires and stroke their own ego.
The same abuse is being played out in Mtubatuba.
The move to disestablish Nkandla is a desperate action which seeks to undermine democracy and inch the country closer to a dictatorship of a one party state.
The IFP rejects this dirty and treacherous plan on behalf of the people of Nkandla, including the President. The IFP remains the legitimate and rightful voice; democratically mandated to represent the collective interests of all the people of Nkandla, all of the time. ANC-led municipalities have failed to develop and improve the lives of the people. Corruption and poor service delivery is rampant and the MEC for CoGTA seems to be turning a blind eye to address these scourges in municipalities.
The IFP will hold a march on Friday, 13 February 2015 in Jozini against the rampant acts of corruption in that municipality with irregular expenditure exceeding R92 million. The state of municipalities in KZN is at an all time low.
Ugu District is in a crisis. Abaqulusi, Jozini, Mkhanyakude,Ndaka, Zululand, eDumbe, Nongoma are all in crisis. The MEC must really take off her party political blinkers and deal with matters objectively and fairly.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP,
IFP Spokesperson on COGTA, 076 521 3221
Dr Cedric Xulu,
Chairperson: IFP Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, 082 706 9720