Nelson Mandela Bay intervention premature, says acting city manager

Nelson Mandela Bay acting municipal manager Nobuntu Mpongwana
HOLDING THE FORT: Nelson Mandela Bay acting municipal manager Nobuntu Mpongwana
Image: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

The planned intervention by the department of co-operative governance and  traditional affairs is misguided, acting Nelson Mandela Bay municipal manager Nobuntu Mpongwana said.

Mpongwana was responding to a letter from provincial Cogta head of department, Gabisile Gumbi-Masilela, stating that a team would be deployed to the city to conduct an assessment on the state of the metro and give recommendations on the support it required.

“A team will be deployed into your municipality to engage with the senior management team to test and be appraised of the state of the municipality.  

“It is important to note that in view of media reports the department of Cogta and [National] Treasury both nationally and provincially are therefore required to do this assessment and appraise the MECs, legislature and parliament on the state of service delivery in municipalities

“Please receive them and engage with them as they need support where there are service delivery and compliance logjams,” Gumbi-Masilela said.

The city has been hamstrung by the council’s failure to make important appointments and conduct meetings.

The National Treasury has also threatened to recall about R3bn in grants over the metro’s failure to act decisively on a forensic report on corruption linked to the city’s bus service, the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS).

Responding to the letter, Mpongwana said Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha failed to provide the necessary support, as required by legislation, to the metro prior to sending an intervention team.

“I respectfully submit that the MEC did not as yet establish such mechanisms, processes and procedures as required in law, or I am not aware of any such mechanisms, processes and procedures, hence [it is] our view that you are slightly premature by acting in terms of Section (154) of the constitution, as the MEC is obliged to act in terms of Section(105)(1) of the Systems Act in order to do an assessment of the support needed in our municipality,” she said.

Mpongwana accused Nqatha of unilaterally sending a team from national Cogta and the provincial and National Treasury.

“[This] is tantamount to irregularly invoking the provisions of intervention (Section (139) of the constitution) in our municipality.

“In this regard, we respectfully submit that no jurisdictional facts exist for such an intervention,” she said.

On November 7, Nqatha issued the metro with a Section (139)(1)(A) notice, giving it 90 days to fill critical vacancies, failing which he would institute Section (139)(1)(B) and send an administrator to run the city.

Mpongwana said the starting point for any intervention would be for the MEC to write to the metro in terms of Section(106)(1)(A) of the Systems Act.

“Previous assistance for our municipality from either national or provincial Cogta and or Treasury has not yielded good results for our municipality in the past,” she said.

The intervention is based on the following:

• Failure to appoint a chief financial officer, which affects service delivery;

 • The National Treasury’s notice of its intention to recall all the money the metro received for the IPTS bus system since inception;

• The appointment of an unqualified official to act as municipal manager; and

•  The failure to hold council meetings.

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