THE NATIONAL Council of Provinces’ (NCOP’s) permanent delegates in the North West received a very devastating report on the state of municipalities of the province when they began their week-long NCOP Provincial Week Programme on Tuesday, 17 September 2019.
This after the MEC for Cooperative Governance,
Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, Mothibedi Kegakilwe, presented a
thoroughly detailed presentation during a briefing session that took place at
Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality.
In his overview of the state of local government in the North West province, Kegakilwe illustrated the very poor delivery of basic services to communities such as water and sanitation, electricity, infrastructure, daily public service delivery protests, financial viability and that being coupled with general incapacity and failure to retain valuable highly skilled human capital who in turn is replaced by unqualified employees in most of the local municipalities. Among other many unresolved issues, this is allegedly the result of some municipalities consecutively receiving qualified audit reports and disclaimers.
The NCOP delegation also received similar presentations from the South African Local Government Association (Salga), the provincial Auditor-General’s Office, various other relevant stakeholders, including the North West Premier Job Mokgoro, who informed the NCOP permanent delegates in his welcoming remarks that: “If we are to tell the truth and be honest with whoever would care to listen to us, the state of our 22 municipalities in the North West province is nowhere near becoming sustainable, responsible and people-centred.”
The Premier also informed the delegation that
there are instances of various municipalities resisting section 139
intervention, where instead of working together with the provincial government
to stabilise and turn around the state of municipalities, they opt to challenge
the intervention in courts of law.
To this end, the NCOP delegation intervened to urge the North West Provincial Legislature, the district and local municipalities and other relevant stakeholders to work together with one voice to develop an amicable resolution to the problem alluded to by the Premier.
“We welcome the reports, but it is our concern
that your municipality performance monitoring analysis and perspective is not
in unison, section 139 is a necessary measure but it is harsh at times and so
you must first consult the local municipalities and use other methods. We need
a provincially based strategy. Major problems are confronting the North West
province and as the NCOP, we will decisively deal with this situation,” said Thamsanqa
Dodovu, a member of the NCOP delegation.
From the very onset at the beginning of the briefing session, Mr Eric Landsman, the NCOP Provincial Whip and the Leader of the NCOP Delegation in the North West, cautioned that: “Despite the achievement of the democratic government, South Africa still faces the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. With the ongoing public protests on service delivery and unending strike actions, it becomes imperative that all of us should jointly work together if we are to win this battle.”
Not only focusing on the recently recorded number of public protests in the North West, Landsman further said that “these daily service delivery protests in all corners of our country mirror the cries from our communities, especially the poorest of the poor, that they need the simple basic service in order to survive. Most of these basic services are supposed to be provided at local government level.”
As is the case in all the other provinces, the North West NCOP Provincial Week Programme is temporarily suspended for today, Wednesday, 18 September 2019 and it will resume tomorrow, Thursday, 19 September, in the afternoon with oversight visits at Maquassi Hills Local Municipality and JB Marks Local Municipality, and that will be followed by a debriefing meeting on Friday, 20 September, to end the programme.
“Although we are very much concerned, we thank everyone for your reports and honesty and all of us here and those not here, including members of the media, everybody must be here on Thursday when we are doing oversight visits,” Landsman pleaded.