Bhisho sends rescue team to failing Nelson Mandela Bay

Bhisho will send a team to take over the running of Nelson Mandela Bay.
PLACE OF STRIFE: Bhisho will send a team to take over the running of Nelson Mandela Bay.
Image: WERNER HILLS

The Eastern Cape government will send an acting city manager and CFO to Nelson Mandela Bay to help stabilise the city, the provincial cabinet has decided.

A multidisciplinary task team will also be sent to support the officials seconded by the provincial cabinet.

Political parties in the metro, including coalition partners, accused Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani of unilaterally appointing legal services official Nobuntu Mpongwana as acting municipal manager.

The metro has had at least seven acting city managers during Bobani’s term in office which began in September 2018.

On November 7, co-operative governance & traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha issued the metro with a Section (139) (1)(A) notice, giving it 90 days to fill the city’s critical vacancies, failing which he would institute Section (139) (1)(B) and send an administrator to run the city.

In a statement, premier Oscar Mabuyane's spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said the provincial cabinet endorsed Nqatha's letter to the metro and supported the decision to send the support team.

“The secondment of officials to the metro does not put on hold the constitutional responsibilities of the municipality and the directives given to them by the Cogta MEC to implement.

“The secondment of officials is a mechanism to help rescue the metro from the difficulty it is further sinking into, owing to this current impasse.

“In playing its constitutional role, the provincial government will explore options in the constitution to ensure that the Nelson Mandela Bay metro implements its constitutional responsibilities to the people of the metro,” Mvusi said.

Sicwetsha added that a legal team would ensure that the correct processes were followed in invoking Section 139(1)(A).

The provincial executive council's decision to send a team is based on:

  • Failure by the council to fill vacant posts for executive directors, which Nqatha says paralyses the financial administration of the municipality;
  • Failure to appoint a CFO, which affects service delivery;
  • The National Treasury’s notice of its intention to withdraw and recall all money the metro received for the IPTS since inception;
  • The appointment of an unqualified official to act as municipal manager; and
  • The failure to hold council meetings.

At the November 4 council meeting, attempts to fill the vacancies failed after the DA, ACDP and COPE, who have a combined 59 seats in council, voted against the appointments.

The ANC, UDM, AIC, United Front and PA coalition government have only 53 seats.

The coalition often enjoys the support of the EFF but at the November 4 meeting, the party walked out of council leaving the ruling “black government” unable to pass any items.

There is a vacancy in ward 55 following the death of ANC Mzuvukile Boti.

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