The North West Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Human Settlements held oversight meetings with Municipalities under Bojanala District Municipality to assess the performance of Municipalities in line with Back to Basics approach.
The Committee commended municipalities for their overall improvement in terms of audit outcomes and progress registered in addressing Back to Basics principles, however still needs to intensify the concept on putting people first and engaging with communities consistently, good governance; bulk water infrastructure in a context of sustainable projects to improve service delivery; corruption and maladministration where consequent management is a reality; and their successes and challenges on implementation of municipal infrastructure grants (MIG) projects.

The Committee, led by the Chairperson, Hon. Motlalepula Rosho, had called all municipalities under the Bojanala District which includes; Madibeng Local Municipality, Moretele; Kgetleng; Rustenburg and Moses Kotane Local municipality to account on service delivery issues focusing on Back to Basics principles.

For Kgetleng Local Municipality, Hon Rosho said the municipality is improving in addressing challenges that were identified during the National Council of Provinces visit to the municipality; and the Committee is concerned about the support of the Department of Local Government and Human Settlements which is minimal and still weak on oversight.

“It is worrying that the municipal infrastructure grant spending is at 52% and the municipality is experiencing serious funding challenges as it has ageing infrastructure that is not adequately funded and impacts negatively on service delivery. The servicing of ESKOM debt which negatively affects services remains a going concern.

Mayor of Kgetleng Local Municipality, Cllr. Kim Medupi said the current drought has also forced the municipality to redirect its budget to relieve affected communities thus compromising service delivery. “Our equitable share is no longer servicing our people accordingly because of the current drought disaster. The joint drought committee which consists of the district municipality and the provincial government is also not solving the current situation,” said Cllr. Medupi.

In their presentation, Moretele Local Municipality highlighted the fact that they hold regular meetings with communities in a Mayor’s programme called, Re bona ka matlho, Imbizos and Tsetsepela, a programme aimed at monitoring projects and engage with stakeholders. They have successfully repaid a debt of R98m owed to the City of Tshwane since 2011 and are now getting their Municipal Infrastructure Grant directly as they are now a water authority. They also reported on their Local Economic Development projects that are running smoothly and plans to further strengthen them.

Hon. Rosho said the Committee commends Moretele Local Municipality on “good political will and management with sound expertise to serve our people”. “In the last five(5) years, the municipality moved from a Disclaimer to Unqualified audit opinion. The municipality also has one of the best public participation models in the province which includes quarterly cluster imbizos with community members and Mayor and Councilors’ programme to monitor all projects in order to hold officials accountable and improve service delivery,” said Hon. Rosho. The Committee also resolved to assist the municipality with all their blocked projects.

The Committee acknowledges efforts made by Madibeng Local Municipality on servicing their creditors such as ESKOM; City of Tshwane, Rand Water and Sandspruit and producing an action plan with clear time-frames, but did not mix words in instructing the municipality to ensure that all Councillors and municipality staff who owe rates and services must pay before end May 2016. “This is non-negotiable, they have to lead by example, we have people who are earning far less salaries but are servicing their debts. The money must be deducted from their salaries,” said Hon Rosho. The municipality will have to submit a report to the Committee by 5 June, indicating that all employees and Councillors have paid of their debt to the municipality. The municipality will be closely monitored on the expenditure performance on the R101 million on infrastructure as well as the Sec 139 (1b) Intervention in water and sanitation. “Gone are the days of non-submission of close report on interventions. We expect the intervention to make a difference and move out of the municipality with meaningful impact that will change the lives of the people. ” Hon Rosho said.

Rustenburg Local Municipality was requested to submit a progress report on the Rustenburg Rapid Transport (RRT) project and action plan that reflects service delivery matters raised by community members within 7 working days. Their presentation lacked detail even though when the Mayor, Cllr. Mpho Khunou, was able to explain some of the things when the Committee requested him to answer, and therefore they were told to submit a detailed written report. The main things that the Committee had issues with, was the fact that the municipality did not submit a report on the Rustenburg Rapid Transport and there was lack of detail on infrastructure progress that were reported to be progress where actually expenditure performance and completion of projects was not clear in the presentation.

“We are concerned about non reporting of RRT in this presentation as this might compromise good work and intended objectives of the project, you will have to submit a written report pertaining to issues raised and for the RRT as what you are presenting here is different from what Treasury presented to us.

“We need the RRT report as this municipality is one of the municipalities we pride ourselves for the rolling out of a public transport in the Province” said Hon. Rosho.

Moses Kotane Mayor and the Municipal Manager did not pitch but sent junior staff and the Speaker, which the Committee did not take kindly to. The Committee has resolved to write a letter to the MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements and the Mayor to express its discomfort, into what they termed undermining of the Committee by the municipality and to also report the matter to the Chief Whip of the Legislature.

For more information, contact Ms Namhla Luhabe on 079 527 0628.