The Limpopo executive council (exco) has put the troubled Mogalakwena Local Municipality under administration to, among others, stabilise the volatile situation which led to the killing of two ANC leaders in July this year.
Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC Basikopo Makamu has already kickstarted a process to implement Section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
The municipality has accrued almost R2bn in irregular expenditure, with five forensic investigation reports into fraud and corruption swept under the carpet the past five years.
The municipality, which is also characterised by high levels of political infighting and instability, recorded unqualified, two disclaimer and two adverse audit findings in the past five years.
In July this year, the chairperson of the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC), Vaaltyn Kekana, and another ANC leader, Ralph Kganyane, were shot dead in the Mogalakwena CBD while sitting in a car.
It was reported that the double murder was a political hit because both of them continuously insisted on the release of the forensic reports, believed to have implicated high-profile politicians in the province.
Makamu mentioned that the municipality would be assisted in the areas of financial management, supply chain management, HR management, leadership and governance.
In 2014, efforts by the government to place the troubled entity under administration was met with legal resistance by ANC councillors. Twenty-three councillors were later fired by the party.
However, Makamu has since pointed out that the intervention first needed the approval of the council for it to be fully implemented. He indicated that he had already met with the municipal political management team and they agreed to the move. This is despite pockets of resistance from some ANC councillors.
In fact, the EFF went further to call for the dissolution of the council.
Makamu said: “If people have an interest of the people of Mogalakwena, they will appreciate the intervention. They are aware of the challenges of the municipality and to resolve them, something must be done.”
Interventions in the municipalities recently came under the spotlight with the SA Local Government Association (Salga) voicing its concern and calling for the move to be used as a last resort as it did not always yield the intended results.
The parliamentary select committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs documents shows that Section 139 of the Constitution, which calls for intervention in struggling municipalities was first invoked by the Northern Cape government in 1998.
Since then, there have been 142 invocations of Section 139 across all provinces. Currently, 48 municipalities are under administration countrywide.