Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Minister of Health, permanent and special delegates of the NCOP, all protocol observed, yesterday, 18 March, the Select Committee of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the NCOP concluded its two-day visit to the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality where it fully investigated the circumstances under which the provincial government of Gauteng invoked section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution. The City of Tshwane is not only the single largest metropolitan municipality in our country but is also the administrative capital of South Africa. This city
has the second largest number of embassies in the world after Washington DC, and therefore many people across the global village call it their home. Hon Chair, by invoking Section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution, the Gauteng Provincial Government express a cautioned message that needs no other interpretation and the message was that the Tshwane Municipality was unable to fulfil its executive obligations in terms of the Constitution and that exceptional circumstance exist warranting its dissolution.
This intervention was subject to Section 139(3) which calls for the Gauteng government to immediately submit a written notice of dissolution to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, CoGTA, to the relevant provincial legislature and to the NCOP, and that the dissolution would take effect 14 days from the date of receipt of the notice by the NCOP, unless it was set aside by the Cabinet Minister or the NCOP before the expiry of those 14 days.
During its visits to Tshwane the select committee of this House, which is a multiparty committee consisting of 12 Members from the ANC, DA, EFF and IFP interacted with both the internal and external stakeholders in order to solicit their views and opinions on the Constitutional, procedural and substantive matters relating to the invocation of Section 139(1)(c). During this visit the select committee received presentations from six of the seven political parties represented in council as well as South African Municipal Workers' Union, SAMWU, the trade union, SALGA, the traditional leadership, the youth forums, the women forums, the business federations as well as the civic movements.
All these presentations by stakeholders were proceeded by submission from the MEC of CoGTA in Gauteng, hon Lebogang Maile, who presented the circumstances and reasons which led to the decision to dissolve the Tshwane Metropolitan Council, and this broadly includes the following: That the municipality was dysfunctional, and council meetings were not taking place as a result of disruptions, walk outs and
the unlawful conduct of the Speaker for more than two months. But there was paralysis in the municipality because there is no Executive Mayor, no mayoral committee and no substantive City Manager. But because the council has not established ward committees, this undermines participatory democracy in its affairs.
Hon Maile also indicated to us that since the 2006 post local government elections the city has experienced serious governance challenges ranging from the appointment of the City Manager, motions of no confidence to[in] the Mayor and Speaker, allegations of widespread corruption, maladministration and inefficiencies. That irregular appointment of staff and the unlawful awarding of tenders was causing major financial losses for the city, but the city has serious challenges of water quality especially in Hammanskraal and surrounding areas where its quality was found to be unsustainable for human consumption by statutory bodies. That the water shortage was a high risk for the municipality as it posted health hazards in communities, in schools as well as in the Jubilee Hospital
which had to be closed down and had its patients transferred to other areas. Despite obtaining unqualified audit opinions, the city has accumulated problems of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditures with no plans to curb them. According to the provincial government of Gauteng, all the above problems have not only placed the Tshwane Municipality in a dysfunctional state, but they have also impeded the municipality from fulfilling its executive obligations in terms of the Constitution. The Gauteng Government stated that in order to address these problems it issued directives in terms of Section 139(1)(a) to address the crisis situation.
Premised on the above, hon Chair, and based on its investigation on the state of municipality of Tshwane and the interaction that it made with internal and external stakeholders, it is the considered view of the select committee that exceptional circumstances do exist to warrant the invocation of Section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution in Tshwane. That the existence of special
circumstances is a special requisite, prerequisite to the exercise of power to dissolve a municipal council. But in this particular case all the remedies to the situation were followed and observed without any success.
Given the collapse of the municipal council meetings, the leadership challenges, vacant position of the City Manager, Executive Mayor and Mayoral Committee, Mayco, the water challenges, the non-establishment of ward committees amongst others, the capacity of the municipality to manage its affairs and to deliver basic services to the residents as well as to provide accountable government for the people of Tshwane was paralysed. Therefore, the select committee submits that the decision to intervene in terms of section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution under this exceptional circumstances is both justified and warranted since all forms of support in terms of section 154 of the Constitution and the directives in terms of section 139(1)(a) were exhausted. All parties except the DA supported this form of intervention.
However, it is also important to state, hon Chair, that the DA's argument is that failure to appoint the Executive Mayor of Tshwane is the cause of failure of the councilors to attend meetings, especially by the ANC, the EFF. That is a problem according to the DA.
Having conducted an oversight visit to the City of Tshwane and interacting with internal and external stakeholders and acknowledging the declaration made by the President of the Republic on measures to combat the COVID-19 virus, the Select Committee on CoGTA recommends the following to the House: that the NCOP approves the intervention in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in terms of Section 139(c) of the Constitution; that a seasoned, competent and capable administrator be appointed in the City of Tshwane and be supported by a team of experts with clear terms of reference; that the administrator should fast-track the process of appointing and filling of the position of City Manager; that the member of executive council, MEC of CoGTA in Gauteng should institute a forensic investigation in terms of Section 106 of the Municipal Systems Act on all
allegations of corruption and financial management and table a report to the NCOP and to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature; that the MEC of CoGTA should submit a quarterly report to the NCOP on the status of the intervention in the municipality, including the termination report; that the Select Committee on CoGTA should, in cooperation with the relevant portfolio committee in Gauteng Provincial Legislature, conduct a follow-up oversight visit after the by-elections in order to evaluate progress made in respect of the intervention in the municipality; and that the Independent Electoral Commission, the IEC, should develop should develop an implementation plan on the by-elections elections, taking into account the presidential declaration made on 15 March 2020 on the measures to combat COVID-19 so as to facilitate fair and free elections. Thank you very much, hon Chair. [Applause.]