Debate on Democratic Alliance Motion

Jul 6, 2023 | Press Releases

BY
HON. OTTO B KUNENE, IFP MPL
KZN LEGISLATURE

06 JULY 2023

The Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Leader of the Official Opposition, the Hon. MECs and Hon. Members.

It gives me great pleasure to represent the Inkatha Freedom Party in this debate. This debate happens after we all heard the sad news of the assassination of Cllr Mkhwanazi of Umkhanyakude District this past Monday.

We extend our condolences to the Mkhwanazi family on this sad loss. We call upon the police of our country – particularly the Special Task Team of the SAPS that investigates political assassinations in our Province – to leave no stone unturned in their investigation, so that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are apprehended. The assassination of Cllr Mkhwanazi adds to the number of Councillors who have been assassinated in this Province, which the Chairperson of SALGA in KwaZulu-Natal said stands at 17.

Today we debate two Municipalities within our Province, which play an important role in the GDP of our Province. These two Municipalities, namely eThekwini and uMsunduzi, if not properly managed – as is the case at the moment – will have a negative effect on the whole economy of our Province.

If eThekwini and uMsunduzi sneeze, the whole of KwaZulu-Natal catches the cold. Unfortunately, the ANC as a governing Party in these two Municipalities has failed to run these Municipalities and, by extension, have failed the voters and the population of this Province.

uMsunduzi Municipality has been under administration for donkey’s years now but the situation does not improve. What was supposed to be an intervention for a definite period has turned into a permanent feature, such that it seems one cannot imagine uMsunduzi Municipality without intervention, which is an unacceptable thing to think about.

This also tells the story of the kind of administrators that the Department has appointed to turn these Municipalities around. As we speak, uMsunduzi Municipality is facing fierce opposition from the ratepayers of the Municipality, who are concerned about the exorbitant rates that they are required to pay.

eThekwini Municipality intends to increase the electricity tariff by 18.49%. This happens on the back of poor performance by this Municipality.

The Auditor-General, in her 2021-2022 Consolidated General Report on the Local Government Audit Outcomes, revealed that uMsunduzi Municipality has taken a step backwards, having received a qualified audit opinion for the 2021/2022 financial year.

The challenges facing these two Municipalities can be summarised as follows:

eThekwini

  • Collapse of infrastructure resulting in lack of water supply.
  • High and unacceptable crime rate, which scares investors; we remember the assassination of AKA, and no one has been arrested.
  • High number of homeless people, which now is estimated at about 10 000.
  • Unpalatable situation of beaches, which negatively affects tourism.
  • Slow pace of house delivery, while in 2006 this Municipality delivered 15 thousand houses per annum, as compared to four thousand houses that are delivered now. Many people still live in what is supposed to be a temporary settlement, called Lindela.
  • The failure by the Municipality to implement catalytic projects.
  • Unaffordable rates, resulting in disgruntlement by rate-payer groups within eThekwini.

uMsunduzi

  • The issue of intervention by COGTA, which has been in place for more than 5 years, yet uMsunduzi Municipality is still dysfunctional.
  • The issue of forensic investigations, which are not resolved due to political interference.
  • Unfilled critical posts.
  • Water and electricity outages; areas within Vulindlela are without water for months.
  • Potholes are still a problem.

The invocation of Section 139 of the Constitution of our country for eThekwini was long overdue, because of the failure by eThekwini Municipality to fulfil its responsibility to the electorate and ratepayers of eThekwini. The floods that engulfed eThekwini last year put this Municipality to the test in terms of its ability to respond on time to the devastating effects of that disaster. The infrastructure that got damaged and the displacement of vulnerable communities following this disaster tested the ability of eThekwini Municipality to respond adequately and this Municipality was found wanting in this regard.

It begs the question, why was eThekwini Municipality put under Section 154 of the Constitution, instead of Section 139? The IFP is keen to know whether the Section 154 intervention in eThekwini, led by Dr Cassius Lubisi, has commenced.

Further to this, it is alleged that eThekwini Municipality paid an amount of R579 million in a matter of months to several companies to fix streetlights in eThekwini, when it could have paid much less. There are also allegations that a logistics company has taken eThekwini Municipality to court over a R90.2 million water tanker contract. Over and above this, the Auditor-General’s issued a scathing report against eThekwini Municipality about City finances, failure to deal with irregular expenditure amounting to R1.5 billon, and the failure by the Municipality to perform routine maintenance of sewer plants.

In addition to this, the Auditor-General stated that of the nine Municipalities selected for auditing, wastewater discharged from wastewater treatment plants did not comply with wastewater standards and practices in accordance with the Department of Water and Sanitation’s Green Drop Report of April 2022. eThekwini and Ugu District Municipalities, which are both led by the ANC, were named as culprits in this Report.

To fix all these problems, our country requires dedicated professionals who are properly qualified, and who possess the requisite skills and experience to pull these Municipalities out of the challenges they are currently experiencing. It also requires the political will on the part of those who are elected to lead these Municipalities and thereby serve the electorate and residents of these Municipalities.

The residents of these two Municipalities deserve cities that work for them.

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