Bhisho team to assist two ailing councils

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Senior Bhisho officials will be dispatched to Amahlathi and Makana municipalities by Friday as part of the provincial government’s intervention in the troubled councils.
While the provincial government will manage the day-to-day running of Amahlathi, Makana has not been placed under administration.
This follows a cabinet decision on Wednesday to support a move by co-operative governance & traditional affairs MEC Fikile Xasa to place Amahlathi municipality under administration, provincial government spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said on Wednesday.
“The Eastern Cape executive council has given Cogta MEC Fikile Xasa the go ahead to impose sections 139 (b) and 139 (5) following due processes in line with the constitution.
“A team of experts from Cogta will be sent to run the affairs of the troubled [Amahlathi] municipality. The team is expected to arrive at the municipality before the end of this week.”
Kupelo said the intervention would include taking over the administrative and financial affairs of the municipality.
“They will also assess the situation to establish contraventions that have led to the crisis situation which has also led to non-payment of creditors and staff salaries,” Kupelo said.
The province had also resolved to send a team of officials to Makana but stressed that the municipality would not be placed under administration.
“The team will monitor the current interventions by various spheres of government which include Amatola water and the department of water & sanitation.
“They will also assess the financial needs of the municipality to address the water crisis following a financial request by the municipality,” said Kupelo.
Service delivery at both the Stutterheim-based and Makhanda-based municipalities have been adversely affected by protests by their respective communities.
In Makana, the problems are related to the collapse of its infrastructure which has resulted in regular water shortages, and a pothole crisis. The municipality also owes Eskom R80m.
In Amahlathi, the problems were sparked by protests against what angry residents described as “jobs for pals” and alleged rampant corruption at the driving licence testing station, among others.
The troika at Amahlathi has been changed as the ANC tried to intervene by deploying a new mayor, speaker and chief whip, hoping that would lead to improved service delivery.
Makana, which has seen raw sewage flowing into residents’ homes, also has a new mayor.
The interventions follow similar action in Enoch Mgijima municipality in Komani.
Legislatively such intervention usually takes six months before an assessment determines whether it is fulfilling the intended purpose. There will be a six-month extension for the Enoch Mgijima intervention...

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