COGTA MEC must take decisive steps against OR Tambo District Municipality

Issued by Vicky Knoetze, MPL
Shadow MEC for COGTA

The OR Tambo District Municipality is failing to provide the most basic services to its people, and highlights how the ANC instilled culture of lack of accountability is collapsing government services across the province.

The primary objective of this district municipality should be to implement water and sanitation services projects, address backlogs and improve the life of its citizens. Instead it is robbing the people of their basic human rights and dignity.

The Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape has written to the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Xolile Nqatha to take steps to place this dysfunctional district municipality under administration, following a presentation to the National Committee on COGTA.

A recent presentation to the National Portfolio committee has revealed the true state in which the OR Tambo District municipality finds itself.

After five continuous years of qualified audit opinions, the latest report of the Auditor General SA highlighted a substantial and repetitive finding of large amounts of irregular expenditure.

It was revealed that an estimated R7.2 billion of irregular expenditure occurred in the municipality over the past three financial years (R 2.6 billion in 2016/17, R 3.2 billion in 2017/18 and R 1.4 billion in 2018/19).

The R 1.4 billion irregular expenditure incurred in the 2018/19 financial year, accounted for 39% of irregular expenditure for all municipalities in the Eastern Cape!

This amount mainly relates to non-compliance in terms of Supply Chain Management Regulations – such as procuring goods and services without quotations, procuring goods and services without competitive bids, using emergency procurement procedures without justification, a poor control environment and a culture of non-compliance as a result of a lack of consequence management.

Not a single official has been held liable for any of this irregular expenditure. No-one is held to account.

This is absolutely unacceptable!

Meanwhile, the insufficient existing water infrastructure is collapsing, due to lack of maintenance. This has resulted in water losses to the value of R 11. 1 million.

Material losses amounted to R345 million which was written off as irrecoverable.

It has also transpired that only 61% of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) was spent, which is a conditional grant. This money should have been spent on improving the lives of the people in this district, where 52% of people have below the minimum standards of service levels, 28.2% have absolutely no access to piped water, 21% of people have no access to sanitation and 6% have no access to toilets.
This is a disgrace, people are without their basic constitutional rights 26 years after democracy.

There is a need to establish an effective compliance and performance driven culture within municipalities in the Eastern Cape, and the implementation of policies and compliance with legislative requirements must be appropriately monitored.

The Democratic Alliance will continue to carry out oversight over municipalities, highlight failures and ensure that public money is spent in the most efficient and effective way possible.