Oudtshoorn municipality placed under administration

Genevieve Quintal, News24

Johannesburg - The troubled Oudtshoorn municipality in the Western Cape will be put under administration, the national department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs said on Friday.

"The province took a decision yesterday [Thursday]... to intervene," Cogta Deputy Director General Themba Fosi told News24.

"We have received the notice as required constitutionally, requesting the minister to approve [the decision]."

The department, as well as Minister Pravin Gordhan, has been interacting with the province for some time regarding the municipality.

Gordhan was currently attending a Cabinet lekgotla and would only be able to process the notice on Monday.

However, this was just a formality and there was no turning back on the decision, Fosi said.

"We jointly agreed to take over administration of that municipality and to bring it to a state of normality, making sure proper processes and systems are place and that the municipality is managed as required by the legislation," he said.

The formal process of notifying the municipality would probably take place next week.

"The minister and the MEC will go there next week to engage with the councillors and formally introduce the administrator."

Last month, a municipal council meeting descended into chaos over the adoption of the budget.

The council was unable to pass its 2015/16 budget before midnight on June 30, which was a violation of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

In May, the Democratic Alliance complained when the ANC-led coalition refused to vacate the office after the opposition party won the by-election in the area.

DA Western Cape leader Patricia De Lille at the time wrote an open letter to President Jacob Zuma about the behaviour of ANC councillors in the municipality.

Last year, 12 DA councillors and one Cope councillor were expelled by the local municipality.

The councillors turned to the courts, and the Western Cape High Court overturned the expulsions.

The ANC in the Western Cape on Friday welcomed the decision to place the municipality under administration.

"Now seamless service delivery can proceed and Oudtshoorn will get the help it deserves and which the DA-run provincial government withheld from it because it was under ANC control," provincial chairperson Marius Fransman said in a statement.

"The ANC hopes this administration will bring stability and a better deal for the people of this Little Karoo area."

Fransman said the ANC was calling on its councillors and all other parties to co-operate and put effort into make things work.

Source: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Oudtshoorn-municipality-placed-un...