Parliament, Friday, 4 September 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) today heard the state of affairs of the Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality, and the Lekwa Local Municipality. It also heard progress on all the municipalities under Section 139 in Mpumalanga Province.

The committee interacted with Mpumalanga’s MECs for Cooperative Governance, and Treasury, Office of the Auditor-General (AG), South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Department of Cooperative Governance on the state of the two municipalities.

The committee heard from Ms Bomkazi Bhobho of the Office of the AG, that audit outcomes at Dr J.S Moroka Local Municipality continued to regress. In 2016/17 financial year, the municipality received a qualified report with findings. In 2017/18 the report was adverse with findings, and the report for 2018/19 year has not been finalised as the audit was paused in October 2019 due to threats of violence to the team of auditors.

Dr J.S Moroka municipality was asked by members of the committee to account for the R1.3 billion unauthorised, irregular and fruitless expenditure. The delegation of the municipality told the committee that the municipality’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is on suspension since 2018, and the investigations on the alleged corruption are at a final stage.

The committee expressed its concern over what it called high dependency of the municipality on consultants whilst there are officials who are employed by the muncipality and paid salaries for the work which is done by the consultants. The committee said the Municipal Manager needs to account for this unnecessary expenditure.

The committee asked the municipality to present a breakdown report on how it spent R500 million to procure goods and services for Covid-19 related initiatives. Meanwhile Lekwa Municipality received R1 million for Covid-19, however, only R300 000.00 of that amount was spent, yet in some areas of the municipality people were without water for two weeks.

The committee also heard that water tanks gathered dust at Lekwa Municipality as there were no truck drivers to deliver water to the people in the communities. The committee asked the municipality to submit to it, a list of all water tankers and their location by next Tuesday.

It emerged during the presentation that the municipality experiences a problem of political instability that grossly affects service delivery in the municipality since 2018. The committee heard that there is a serious lack of water in the municipality, sewer spillage, roads are riddled with potholes, problems of electricity and the municipality, has for five weeks, been faced with a labour unrest.

Mpumalanga’s MEC for Treasury, Mr Petrus Ngomane, reassured the committee that the provincial departments of treasury and cooperative governance are working closely to improve performance of the municipality.

Mr Ngomane told the committee that the Financial Recovery Plan (FRP) which is part of the national and provincial governments’ intervention strategy to assist municipalities to become financially stable and provide services to communities on a sustainable basis, has not been institutionalised in Mpumalanga.

The committee will interact with the outstanding municipalities in the next term.


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