Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cogta Lebogang Maile has given the City of Tshwane strict deadlines to fix the City or face going under administration.
Maile held a media briefing on Wednesday, outlining some of the directives the province had given the City to strengthen capacity to effectively execute its constitutional mandate.
Maile’s instructions come as the City is preparing for council to debate its third motion of no confidence against Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa, his troika and the entire mayoral council on Thursday.
The outcomes of the first debate were suspended by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for the DA to challenge the council’s validity.
“This decision was not taken lightly but was informed by the total collapse of governance, mismanagement of funds, irregular appointments, poor service delivery record and glaring allegations of corruption,” he said, painting a bleak picture of the management of the City by the DA-led government.
In December, the DA denied these allegations, citing that Maile had raised issues which did not meet executive obligation, with DA Gauteng leader John Moodey threatening to challenge Maile in the courts.
Maile, in advancing his argument, told journalists that the City had failed to use grant money from the human settlements as well as water and sanitation departments, amounting to hundreds of millions of rands being wasted.
“The situation is dire in Tshwane. I have got figures here about the various grants. One of the grants that I can speak on with authority as MEC for Human Settlements – we give municipalities money to build houses.
“One of the problems we face in human settlements is some of our municipalities are not meeting the targets. That’s why we end up not delivering to our people. Tshwane is one of them.
“It’s R200m that we give them to build houses, they have spent zero. People need houses in Tshwane. National water and sanitation is on the verge of taking R2bn in Tshwane because they are not spending and that money has got to go to bulk services. The situation is dire. The City is mismanaged, the city is not doing well, it’s not properly governed.”
DA speaker Rachel Matheba, in a written response to Maile, said the MEC’s interventions were not appropriate for service delivery, adding that Maile did not meet the requirements for the metro to be placed under administration.
Maile said Cogta was not placing the city under administration as yet. He added that the speaker had no choice but to accept his support in terms of the law. He said anybody who chooses to ignore the directives, will be regarded as a constitutional delinquent.
“We intend on putting a lot of pressure, not just on Tshwane but on all the municipalities. We want them to understand what this support means. We want to have a discussion with them because we don’t want to act like bullies. We want to work with them and help them ensure that we resolve issues.”
The directives with deadlines from end January until end March include:
- Develop a comprehensive recovery plan to address service delivery backlogs and re-prioritise the budget by January 2020;
- Address water challenges and re-prioritise the Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG) by February 2020;
- Address sanitation and waste collection issues by February 2020;
- Address allegations of corruption and maladministration in procurement and submit information on its top 20 contracts by January 2020;
- Implement consequence management to address the auditor generals findings and conclude all cases by January 2020;
- Fill vacant senior posts by March 2020 and conclude the separation agreement with the city manager by January 2020;
- Establish ward committees by February 2020 Draft a revenue enhancement plan by February 2020; and
- Improve participation with disaster management and produce its own plans to enhance its disaster management capacity by February 2020.
“Councillors must rest assured that the only time we will come in and place the city under administration is if they don’t meet our directives,” he said.
While the timeframes for the turnaround of the City are stringent, Maile said he would not suffocate council.