Blow for municipality – MEC admits failure

Cooperative Governance MEC, Mandla Ndlovu, filed a notice to abide by the Middelburg High Court's ruling, voicing “neutrality” towards the urgent interdict application by local attorney Andre Brandmuller and SG Coal, against the municipality and its minders, by declining to oppose litigation.

In the notice to abide, MEC Ndlovu says the province has exhausted all avenues to allow the municipality to settle ongoing labour disputes, and a string of illegal, violent strikes since last September, with the municipality failing to comply with executive recommendations.

After SG Coal’s request to join Mr Brandmuller’s High Court application as co-applicant yesterday, MEC Ndlovu’s express “notice to abide,” is the most devastating blow to both the municipality, the administration, defiant employees and council.

Gerrit Kruger, attorney on record for Mr Brandmuller and co, confirmed the astonishing development.

In MEC Ndlovu’s explanatory affidavit, the Hon. MEC set out his role to monitor and support the municipality to discharging its mandate and responsibilities in service delivery, which the municipality has scandalously failed to render to Middelburg residents, who are still obliged to pay for services.

“The relief sought by the applicant against the MEC, in summary, is to be compelled to dissolve council and appoint two administrators in consultation with organized business and labour in Middelburg, to administer the municipality, until by-elections can be arranged, or the next local government elections take place,” the MEC’s filing asserts.

In a scathing report attached to the notice to abide, the MEC outlines the shocking failures of the municipality to implement remedial measures.

“I wish to draw the court’s attention to the fact that on 26 August, this report, including recommendations, has been presented to the municipality. I request that all the listed recommendations must also be incorporated in the filing, save to note, that till date, the municipality refuses to implement the recommendations,” the MEC says.

MEC Ndlovu, with intention to abide, requested that no cost orders be made against the department.

Crisis points in the report found:

• The municipality has no business continuation protocol to guide leadership during disaster or unprotected strikes.
• Disunity in management has compromised ability to decisively and collectively implement consequence management and addressing gaps in internal control.
• Disunity among political leadership.
• Escalated thefts and vandalism.
• The assault of the Chief Financial Officer resulting in an operation and 30 day sick leave.
• The SAPS saying arrogance and lack of experience will lead to community revolt and more “out of control dread”.
• Questionable financial controls on future audits.

Thus far the continued strikes have cost the municipality R280 million, and counting.

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