MEC WILL NOT ACT AGAINST KOUGA: THE HERALD

EASTERN Cape Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane will not be placing the Kouga Local Municipality under administration for failing to settle debt of more than R100-million.

It owes the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality R25-million for water services and more than R80-million to the South African Revenue Service and other creditors.

DA provincial local government spokesman Dacre Haddon yesterday called on the provincial legislature to dissolve the Kouga municipal council and asked that the municipality be placed under administration using Section 139(c) of the constitution.

A Section 139 intervention essentially gives Qoboshiyane the powers to dissolve a council if it cannot carry out executive duties.

However, Qoboshiyane said the provincial administration would not invoke Section 139(c).

“Instead, we shall endeavour to give support to the municipality until they resolve their financial woes. In our discussions, struggling municipalities were all directed to minimise waste, cut the fat and leverage council funds towards repayment of debt and service delivery. Our experts will work closely with Kouga Local Municipality to realise the objectives of the council. The support is the route we take before any drastic measures, therefore there will be no takeover,” Qoboshiyane said.

Haddon argued that financial support for the municipality was not the solution.

“The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has its own financial difficulties and urgently needs this outstanding payment to be made.

“It would be wrong to call for just financial support when the evidence of financial mismanagement calls for this municipality to be run by administrators in terms of a Section 139(c) intervention by the Department of Local Government.

Kouga spokeswoman LauraLeigh Randall said the arrangements to settle the debt had been made, but could not give details.

“Our council has, over the past two years, proven willing and able to handle the debt it inherited.”