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SALGA and COGTA discusses current local government issues within the province (Mpumalanga)




Posted: 05 June 2020

The Provincial Office Bearers of SALGA in Mpumalanga held a virtual meeting with the MEC of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Mr. Mandla Msibi on the 4th of May 2020, to discuss current issues that are impacting on municipalities within the province. SALGA and COGTA have a working relationship that is mandated to local government and ensuring that the interests of municipalities are represented, and that municipalities are functional.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the challenges faced by the four (4) municipalities in the province which are Dr JS Moroka, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Govan Mbeki and Lekwa Local Municipalities.

Issues that were raised by the MEC included:

  • Running out burial land in the province. The MEC indicated that municipalities should factor in the issue of gravesites in their Municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).
  • Land invasion. The MEC indicated that the issue of land invasion will have a negative impact on the availability of land in municipalities to deal with the issue of gravesites.
  • Audit Outcomes. The MEC raised a concern on municipalities that have regressed in terms of their audit outcomes due to lack of discipline and financial internal controls.
  • ESKOM. The MEC emphasized that the challenges of municipalities differs from one another and they should be dealt with individually so as opposed to using one blanket approach.  He requested that Executive Mayors should thorough deal with the issues of what is owed by ESKOM and other government departments to the municipalities.
  • The preparation of 2021 Local Government Elections. The MEC mentioned that submissions were made not to postpone the 2021 Local Government Elections even if it means going digital.

Issues that the MEC gave progress on and were discusses by the meeting included:

  • Dr JS Moroka, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Govan Mbeki Local Municipalities’ Issue. The investigation in Dr JS Moroka, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Govan Mbeki Local Municipalities has been concluded and a reported will be presented to the Premier and the Executive Council possibly before the end of June 2020.
  • The support rendered in terms of Section 154(1) of the Constitution in Dr JS Moroka, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Govan Mbeki and Lekwa Local Municipalities. The Department is still supporting the municipalities. Such support is being provided with other national departments and stakeholders such as Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) deployed to provide the necessary support.
  • Proposed intervention for Lekwa Local Municipality. After thorough investigation, the Provincial Executive Committee resolved to intervene in Lekwa Local Municipality. A council sitting has been arranged for Lekwa Local Municipality for the 5th of June 2020 for the election of the Speaker and the Executive Mayor. The MEC again requested SALGA to train Councillors on moral and ethical leadership as expected for them to lead in their communities
  • Audit outcomes. CoGTA and SALGA should expand the support it gives to the distressed municipalities to all municipalities in the Province, in order to avoid them regressing in the near future.
  • Financial Performance: Thaba Chweu, City of Mbombela under Ehlanzeni District as well as Dipaleseng, Mkhondo and Msukaligwa local municipalities in Gert Sibande District are financially distressed due to COVID-19. This issue will be discussed in the Technical MunMEC to find a way forward on how this municipalities can be supported.

SALGA Mpumalanga’s Provincial Director of Operations, Mrs Gugu Langa, also mentioned operational challenges faced with regards to Lekwa Local Municipality. She further indicated that the issues raised by the Auditor-General in the Audit outcomes executive summary needs urgent attention amongst others these are:

  • Some Chief Financial Officers are failing to compile annual financial statements which is their responsibility;
  • Non-compliance on legislative issues;
  • Consultants not being managed;
  • Lack/ insufficient/non- compliance with internal
  • Unethical behavior in municipalities is  not dealt with and there is no  consequence management

As a way forward, the meeting concluded as follows:

  • THAT municipalities should factor in the issue of gravesites in their Integrated Development Plans for future planning;
  • THAT municipalities should deal with the issue of land invasion and such should be included in the reports be submitted to the Provincial CoronaVirus Command Centre;
  • THAT in be noted that COGTA has started working on the gaps identified in relations to the municipal audits to establish the kind of support required;
  • THAT the Section 106(1)(b) of the Local Government Systems Act 2000 in Dr JS Moroka, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, and Govan Mbeki Local Municipalities be shared with SALGA after such has been presented to the cabinet;
  • THAT the Provincial Office Bearers of SALGA meets with the TROIKA of Dr JS Moroka, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Govan Mbeki and Lekwa Local Municipalities Troika be for further engagements.

In his conclusion, the MEC, Mr M. Msibi, assured the meeting that all the issues raised will be discussed in the national and provincial portfolio committees.  Some issues will be discussed in the MINMEC scheduled for Friday, the 5th of June 2020. The MEC emphasized that the issue of land invasion should find space in the Agenda of the Provincial Coronavirus Command Centre for discussion where the Provincial Commissioner is also a chairperson.

The MEC appreciated the opportunity given by SALGA to report on issues that are hindering the service delivery in some municipalities and progress on how the department has dealt or have been dealing with the issues so far.


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