Urgent Intervention for Oudtshoorn Municipality Announced

Pretoria - National and provincial government have agreed that the Oudtshoorn Municipality in the Western Cape needs urgent intervention, following allegations of serious financial mismanagement and service delivery challenges, among others.

On Wednesday, the Department of Cooperative Governance and traditional Affairs (COGTA) said the decision for urgent intervention in the municipality was taken by COGTA Minister Pravin Gordhan and Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell.

“The decision to intervene follows the failure of the Oudtshoorn Municipality to approve a budget for 2015/16 at its latest meeting on 29 May 2014, the failure to adopt a supplementary budget for 2014/15, allegations of serious financial mismanagement and service delivery challenges,” the department said.

COGTA said based on an assessment by a joint Back to Basics team from the national and provincial departments, the Minister and the MEC have come to the conclusion that urgent action is required to address political and administrative instability, non-functional council structures, irregular acting appointments in senior positions, water pollution and refuse removal and general breakdown in delivery of services to communities.

The urgent action will also address the irregular appointment of service providers and procurement processes, poor communication with communities, Eskom debt and the decline of the tourism industry, racial polarization in the municipality and communities of Oudtshoorn, failure by the municipality to adopt an adjustment budget for 2014/15, and the possibility that the municipality might not adopt a budget for 2015/16.

“Following an unannounced visit to the municipality earlier this year, Minister Gordhan wrote to the municipality on 30 March 2015 proposing a support and good governance package in terms of section 154 of the Constitution. The municipality has failed to adopt this package.

“Minister Gordhan and MEC Bredell have called upon the municipality to adopt the support and good governance package by 5 June 2015, failing which other forms of intervention provided for in the constitution will be considered,” said COGTA.

- SAnews.gov.za