The City of Nelson Mandela Bay is almost certainly going to be placed under administration after missing a deadline set by the Eastern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to appoint credible executive directors including a CFO and city manager.
In a letter seen by News24 dated October 25, Cooperative Governance MEC Xolile Nqatha gave Mayor Mongameli Bobani seven days or the provincial government would start its intervention process by invoking Section 139(5) of the Constitution.
Nqatha stated his intent to intervene in the metro was motivated by the “persistent failure of the municipality to fulfill its obligations”.
These include the failure to appoint executive directors and accounting managers. Currently, the metro only has one executive director.
“The non-appointment of executive directors also paralyses the financial administration of the municipality envisaged by Section 77 of the Local Government Municipal Finance Management Act,” the letter read.
On Monday, the special council that was held to discuss the appointment of executive directors, including the motion of no-confidence against Bobani, turned chaotic. This was the fourth motion of no-confidence against him.
The UDM mayor has been seen by his detractors mainly in the DA, and most recently the ANC, as the root cause of the poor state of the metro.
Nqatha stated the non-appointment of a chief financial officer had badly affected service delivery, adding this had led to the roll-over of capital grants.
Earlier this year, the National Treasury wrote to Bobani, warning that it would withdraw and recall hundreds of millions in funds from the metro’s integrated transport system.
In the letter, the Treasury detailed how Nelson Mandela Bay was facing “the worst unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure” in the country, posing a fiscal risk.
The municipality has also been accused of being unable to deal with the Auditor-General’s report repeatedly on non-compliance as well failing to provide detailed and satisfactory reports.
Nqatha also lambasted Bobani for hiring an unqualified city manager, stating city manager, Nobuntu Mgogoshe, does not possess the competencies and expertise to act in the position she was appointed to.
He wanted the matter of Mgogoshe’s appointment to be debated first, as all council sittings should be held under the guidance of a city manager. In the absence of a city manager, an acting person should be present, News24 reported earlier.
DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga said the party welcomed the department’s intervention.
“We believe that taking the power from these people, the tenders and executive power, we render Bobani useless and council dysfunctional and that is the only way we can defend the public purse,” added Bhanga.
The DA will be holding a press briefing on Thursday where it is expected that the party would announce its bid for the metro to hold fresh elections.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa refused to comment on the state of the metro only saying he still had faith in Bobani.
Holomisa added the metro was run in coalition with the ANC.