The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) strongly believes that the section 139 intervention by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, is a political move that circumvents deep wasteful expenditure and maladministration within Emfuleni.
The Constitution is clear that national, provincial and municipal budgets and budgetary processes must promote transparency, accountability and the effective financial management of the economy, debt and the public sector.
The provincial executive, CoGTA and Treasury receive monthly financial statements from all municipalities and they all have an important oversight responsibility to ensure that municipalities are financially sound. These government structures had a responsibility to ask questions and to ensure financial stability for this municipality, yet failed to do so. The announcement of intervention and placing Emfuleni under administration merely diverts attention from dealing with deep rooted corruption within the municipality.
The recently released Auditor General’s report for the 2016/17 financial year made it very clear that for the past five years, the majority of local municipalities, including Emfuleni, had failed or were failing in their constitutional duty of providing services to their communities.
Emfuleni local municipality is but one of the 87% of municipalities that are suffering from mismanagement, maladministration and municipal capture. Unable to pay long outstanding debts to both ESKOM (R606 million), Rand Water (R450 million) and a number of other creditors, the municipality is on its knees and has nowhere to turn but to the provincial executive.
If we are to trust that this intervention is going to work it is time for the Premier and his executive must take action and lay charges, against those officials and politicians who were party to the demise of Emfuleni local municipality.