A high-level team to intervene in Makana Municipality - Xasa

MEC Fikile Xasa File Photo
MEC Fikile Xasa File Photo
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

A high-level delegation of MECs will be sent to Makana Local Municipality to look at all the problems facing Makhanda and surrounding areas before a team of administrators will be sent to fix the issues.

The team will be led by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Fikile Xasa, who made the announcement during a stakeholder session, in partnership with The Herald, on Tuesday.

At Pine Lodge, Xasa was giving an account of his last five years as MEC of Cogta .

He said he was tasked by the provincial legislature to lead the team, assess the situation and find solutions.

This, as the last intervention by Cogta - when administrator Pam Yako was sent to fix the municipality - did not yield lasting results.

Xasa said the provincial government had continuously pumped money into the municipality without ever having seen any improvements.

“Everyday we are told about problems of water and sanitation, especially as we approach the festival [season].

“If you were to ask why this is that not stopping, it is a question of integration and the coordination of our efforts,” he said.

Citing an example, he said: “At times someone is in Pretoria and he wants to procure people to provide a service in Makana and those in Makana may not be able to do oversight for something that is done in Pretoria.

“Instead, they’ll raise issues about the company that is appointed,” Xasa said.

He said that Cogta needed to improve integrated planning in the area and more attention needed to be given to struggling municipalities.

Makana municipality has been battling a number of administrative challenges over the years.

This includes financial constraints leaving municipal staff and creditors unpaid while also having a low revenue collection rate.

In November, it was discovered there were between about at least 60 “ghost employees” on the municipality’s pay-roll.

It has also battled frequent electricity and water outages along with potholes, sewage issues and uncollected rubbish.

Between 2014 to 2016, Makana was put under administration due to its inability to pay creditors and collect revenue from ratepayers.

During his speech, which touched on numerous topics, Xasa said some municipalities had been captured in the province.

“If you ask me by who? By business, by politicians collaborating with officials. We’ve had a number of investigations across the board and it’s beginning to be a systematic problem,” Xasa said.

“I’ve investigated many municipalities which culminated in reports which were presented to council as a recommendation because municipalities are independent and sadly at times they are ignored,”

He said at times they went as far as conducting forensic investigations and collaborated with National Treasury.

Xasa also spoke on their efforts to clamp down on illegal initiation schools, saying they were trying to ensure rogue traditional surgeons (iingcibi) are prosecuted.