Two municipalities, one in the Eastern Cape and the other in KwaZulu-Natal, will be placed under administration after a parliamentary committee called for interventions.
On Tuesday, the cooperative governance and traditional affairs committee said the Richmond Local Municipality in KZN and Amahlathi Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape were underperforming.
Richmond, in particular, showed deteriorating financial management that led to the non-payment of creditors, said parliamentary communications spokesperson Malatswa Molepo in a statement.
Molepo added the committee had visited the two municipalities last week and decided interventions were “necessary to bring much-needed stability to those municipalities to address declining service delivery levels”.
“[This is because of the] ballooning of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, which increased by 501% year-on-year in Richmond; as well as the need to bring stability and curb service delivery protests within the municipalities.”
Committee chairperson China Dodovu said local government was the “coalface of service delivery”.
“It is untenable to have municipalities that are unable to perform their constitutional functions. We need viable and working municipalities that deliver services to the people,” added Dodovu.
Molepo said among the concerns was that instability within both municipalities had impaired their ability to spend the municipal infrastructure grant.
“[The grant] is essential to eradicating infrastructure challenges, especially in rural municipalities. The committee is of the view that the intervention will add the impetus necessary to implement infrastructure programmes.”
Dodovu said the committee would continue to monitor both municipalities.
“It is upon us as legislators to properly monitor the extent to which these interventions are making a difference in the lives of people.”