EMM mayor gets Cogta backlash over remarks

Enoch Mgijima mayor Sisisi Tolashe.
Enoch Mgijima mayor Sisisi Tolashe.
Image: File/Tembile Sgqolana

The department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) has hit back at Enoch Mgijima mayor Sisisi Tolashe.

The department said there had never been a request to submit a report about the amalgamation of the three municipalities in 2016.

On Tuesday, Tolashe blamed the provincial government and Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) for failing allegedly to provide her with the reports detailing the financial status of Inkwanca, Lukhanji and Tsolwana municipalities that were amalgamated to form Enoch Mgijima (EMM).

But Cogta spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam said the department’s role was to provide policy guidelines and act as a dispute resolution mechanism where disputes arose.

“From the onset, Cogta wishes to state that it is not aware of any correspondence that was received from [the] executive mayor of Enoch Mgijima requesting reports about the amalgamation process,” Ngam said.

“From the onset, Cogta wishes to state that it is not aware of any correspondence that was received from [the] executive mayor of Enoch Mgijima requesting reports about the amalgamation process,” Ngam said.

He said Cogta MEC Fikile Xasa’s first role was to promote Section 14(5) notices in terms of Municipal Structures Act.

“All the affected municipalities were members of those district structures and had responsibilities of individually reporting to the various work-streams on matters that were affecting their municipalities,” he said.

Ngam said a technical change management committee (TCMC), chaired by then CHDM municipal manager Moppo Mene consolidated the reports. The committee then reported to the political CMC (PCMC) that was chaired by former CHDM mayor Mxolisi Koyo.

He said meetings of the TCMC and the PCMC were where decisions taken were to be endorsed by councils of the merging municipalities in line with the Section 14 (5) notice.

“The above information therefore presents the point that the primary source of information that was presented to the district municipality was coming from the municipalities themselves as custodians of the information”.

At the departmental level a provincial transformation committee (PTC) was established to:

Provide policy guidelines to CMCs;

Act as a dispute resolution mechanism where disputes arose at CMC level; and

Exercise oversight, support and guide the CMCs in the restructuring process.

“It was clear that the CMCs were efficiently handling their matters at the municipal level. This then highlights the fact that all reports that were to be generated by either the work stream or the CMCs were with the district municipality,” he said.

At the time of writing on Friday, CHDM spokesperson Thobeka Mqamelo had not responded to questions e-mailed on Tuesday.

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