COSATU in the Eastern Cape is observing with keen interest the developments at the distressed Amathole District Municipality. We join other organisations in welcoming the decision by the Eastern Cape Provincial Government to invoke Section 139 (5) (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa into the affairs of Amathole District Municipality as a step in the right direction.
Th provision of this Act is that Provincial Government may impose the Section 139 (5) (a) if a municipality, because of a crisis in its financial affairs, is in serious or persistent material breach of its obligations to provide basic services or to meet its financial commitments or admits that it is unable to meet its obligations or financial commitments.
COSATU Eastern Cape is comforted by the fact that the Executive Council of the Eastern Cape provincial government resolved to establish a political workstream that is made up of the Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha, Chairperson of the South African Local Government Association in the province, Councillor Mxolisi Koyo, Amathole District Municipality’s Executive Mayor Councillor Khanyile Maneli and the Eastern Cape Finance MEC, Mlungisi Mvoko, to monitor the implementation of the financial recovery plan. This is an indication of how the provincial Government takes seriously the efforts to address the dire situation of Amathole District Municipality. It would have been much better though if the intervention came earlier. Municipalities must request appropriate intervention before the situation gets out of hand. The Provincial must quickly intervene appropriately where there are signs of challenges before the situation worsens.
COSATU Eastern Cape is encouraged by Eastern Cape Provincial Government EXCO’ s resolution that, in agreement with the municipality, a technical team from both the national and the provincial government will be sent to support the implementation of the financial recovery plan aimed at securing the municipality’s ability to meet its obligation to provide basic services or its financial commitments, as provided for in Section 139 (5) (a) of the Constitution of our country.
We hope that the recovery plan put in place will ensure the municipality’s ability to meet its obligations to provide basic services and its financial commitments. We would appreciate it if the Executive Council can consider similar interventions to address the challenges faced by other local municipalities in the Eastern Cape that are in severe financial distress and avoid total collapse.
We appeal to all parties to support the intervention by the Provincial Government and to allow it to proceed in a harmonious environment. We condemn the statements attributed to the ANC Amathole Region by the Daily Dispatch. The baseless accusation of SAMWU collaborating with others to plot the demise of the municipality when the workers are at the receiving end of financial mismanagement is unfortunate, insensitive and reckless. A suggestion that SAMWU can cut its nose to spite its face is not in touch with reality.
COSATU makes a humble appeal to all stakeholders to play their roles at different levels in support of the intervention. The common goal that all must focus energies on realising is to get the municipality out of the situation it finds itself in, delivers services to the communities and meet its financial obligations, among them pay salaries to workers.
Issued by COSATU Eastern Cape
COSATU Provincial Secretary
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