UMkhanyakude District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal has become the 11th municipality in the province to be placed under administration. This week, KZN MEC for CoGTA, Sipho Hlomuka announced the appointment of Bamba Ndwandwe as the administrator of the uMkhanyakude District Municipality.
MEC Hlomuka met with the full council to officially inform its members of the decision taken by the Provincial Executive to place the municipality under administration in terms of Section 139(1) b of the Constitution.
In a statement, the KZN Premier’s Office said that the decision was taken to end the paralysis, prevent the collapse of governance, and usher in an era of service to the people first while also bringing back stability and order. “The municipality has been embroiled in internal strife which has severely compromised key areas of service delivery. There are allegations and counter-allegations of maladministration, fraud, and corruption.”
REASONS BEHIND KZN municipality’s FINANCIAL WOES
For the past few years, the embattled Msunduzi Municipality has dominated headlines for its financial woes and deteriorating infrastructure. The Provincial government intervened in 2029 and has placed the municipality under administration twice. Msunduzi Municipality also encompasses KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city Pietermaritzburg.
According to Cllr Sibongiseni Majola, DA Msunduzi Caucus Leader, only 30% of Msunduzi street lights are working, there are potholes in almost every street; the municipality is failing to fund assets and collect revenue.
Majola said that the duration of the intervention is long overdue but the municipality is battling to finalise investigations. “Msunduzi municipality has lost billions through fraud and corruption but it is still battling to conclude these investigations. The former administrator Sibusiso Sithole was digging corruption and everything was pointing at politicians. He was then recalled before arrests could be made.”
According to Majola, these are some of the reasons Msunduzi’s financial woes are not ending:
- Administrators are carrying political mandates from their political masters which makes it difficult to correct, intervene and expose political orientated issues or challenges.
- Even though the municipality is battling financially, over R29 million is spent on security for Councillors and officials whereas the municipality has an alarming R4.5 billion debt.
- There is no turnaround plan/strategy that is used to measure the failures and successes.
KZN MUNICIPALITIES UNDER ADMINISTRATION
KwaZulu-Natal has 54 municipalities and 11 have been placed under administration due to the total collapse of service delivery. Nquthu and uMkhanyakude municipalities are the latest on the list. Emadlangeni, Mtubatuba, Abaqulusi, uMzinyathi, uThukela, Inkosi Langalibalele, Mpofana,Richmond and Msunduzi are other municipalities that are under administration.