The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) notes and welcomes the ruling of the Eastern Cape division on the High Court compelling the Provincial Government to appoint an administrator and dissolve the Makana Local Municipality in terms of Section 139 of the country’s constitution.
It is unfortunate that the courts had to be roped in to compel the Eastern Cape Provincial Government to intervene in the municipality, whereas constitutional provisions are already in place to ensure that municipalities such as Makana which are struggling to deliver on their constitutional mandates are supported in the interest of service delivery and the improvement of the lives of the residents which they serve.
SAMWU has long classified the Makana Local Municipality as a non-existent entity due to the collapse in service delivery and financial mismanagement at the municipality. Our frustrations with the municipality were heightened when the municipality issued communique to workers that they would not be receiving their salaries for three consecutive months.
This information was shared with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and senior officials in the department. We were therefore surprised that both provincial and national COGTA departments with full knowledge and evidence of the municipality literally having collapsed, they opted oppose the application to place the municipality under administration.
We have noted that the Provincial Government has indicated that they will be made known its intentions of appealing this High Court ruling. The department is well aware that what remains in Makana is merely a name and not a municipality.
We are of the view that these intentions are partisan and not in the interest of service delivery or employees of the municipality. Provincial Governments are empowered through the constitution to intervene in municipalities which are struggling financially or failing to deliver services. With the latter being the case for Makana Local Municipality, both provincial and national COGTA departments have not acted in the interest of service delivery or the interests of Makana residents.
We therefore caution the Provincial Government not to proceed with its intentions of appealing this ruling as it will be a declaration of war against residents of Makanana and Municipal Workers who have been the worst affected by the dysfunctionality of Makana Local Municipality.
As processes now unfold to appoint an administrator in the municipality, dissolve and elect a new council, we trust that the new administration will act in the interest of workers and communities they are supposed to serve. We further urge both provincial and national COGTA departments to provide the necessary support that the administrator and the new administration would require to ensure that service delivery is restarted at the municipality.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Koena Ramotlou, General Secretary (073 254 9394), Dumisane Magagula, Deputy General Secretary (084 506 4005) or Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer, (073 710 0356).