The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has resolved to call all municipalities and provincial governments to appear before it in order to deal decisively with the corruption and mismanagement of municipalities.

Committee Chairperson Ms Faith Muthambi says they will start with all municipalities whose executive leaders currently serve on the national leadership of the South African Local Government Association (Salga). Committee members, provincial MECs and senior managers of the national Department of Cogta must be present when these municipalities appear before the committee, Ms Muthambi said.

“Therefore, we will start with the national leadership of Salga who also serve as mayors of various municipalities. It is clear that some executive members of Salga have not complied with legislative requirements to submit financial and other reports on behalf of their municipalities,” she added.

According to Ms Muthambi, it is ironical that municipalities led by mayors and senior executives who are members of Salga fail to comply with basic finance and governance legislation. “This contradiction must be exposed,” she added.

Ms Mutambi has also requested the department of Cogta to provide the committee with a list of dysfunctional municipalities. These municipalities will be prioritised and called to appear before the committee. The committee also resolved to seek permission from the House Chairperson to be allowed to continue with its oversight work during the current constituency period. The committee will be divided into two groups to conduct physical and virtual oversight visits in the provinces.

Ms Muthambi called on the provincial and national departments of cooperative governance to support the municipalities to ensure that they deliver services to the people. “We need to strengthen monitoring, evaluation and oversight over all the municipalities in the country and to restore public confidence in the municipalities.”

The committee will not allow the rot to continue or the status quo to worsen under their watch. The recent Auditor-General report exposed the state of municipalities. Ms Muthambi warned that any departmental official found lying to the committee will be charged and possibly imprisoned. “The committee believes that individuals reporting to us must do so with due respect for Parliament, as any report submitted to the committee is a report which is submitted directly to Parliament,” she added.

The committee further resolved to call the Minister and the MECs to account on the interventions already undertaken in the provinces and municipalities placed under administration.

Sureshinee Govender
5 August 2020