DA takes Dukwana to court

DA takes Dukwana to court

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State has filed a motion to the Free State High Court to force the provincial government or the national government to intervene in Matjhabeng Local Municipality and impose a workable financial recovery plan.

The DA says the state of Matjhabeng Municipality is dire and owes billions to service providers, and making a loss in revenue. The opposition party puts the blame to the ANC accusing it of mismanagement and corruption and calls for intervention in the municipality.

The DA says Sections 137(5) and (7) of the Constitution are the only intervention clauses that compel these spheres to intervene if a municipality is in serious or persistent material breach of its obligations to provide basic services or to meet its financial obligations, or admits that it is unable to meet such obligations.

“Among the many problems caused by the ANC’s mismanagement of Matjhabeng over several years, include the fact that the municipality suffered a deficit in the last financial year of just over R1 billion and that its liabilities exceed its assets by almost R8,5 billion.

Furthermore, the municipality owes Eskom R4 763 944 657 and the Water Board R4 897 035 157. It also suffers electricity losses of over R150 million per year and water losses of almost R324 million per year whilst underspending grants meant for infrastructure maintenance of more than R191 million,” said George Michalakis; MP DA Member of the National Council of Provinces.

In its motion to the High Court, Michalakis says the Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana is the first responded as the political head of the province. The opposition party will seek a declaratory order that:

The municipality breached its duties in terms of the constitution to ensure basic services to the community sustainably, to promote social and economic development and to promote a safe and healthy environment; and

That the municipality failed to structure and manage its administration and budgeting and planning processes to give priority to the basic needs of the community, and to promote the social and economic development of the community.

That the municipality, as a result of a crisis in its financial affairs is in serious and persistent material breach of its obligations to provide basic services and to meet its financial commitments;

That the Premier, the MEC of COGTA and the Provincial Executive of the Free State have failed to comply with their duties to intervene in the municipality in terms of section 139(5) of the Constitution; and

That the Minister of CoGTA, the President and the National Executive have failed to comply with their duties to intervene in the municipality in terms of sections 139(5) and (7) of the Constitution; and

That the above actions are invalid in terms of section 172(1)(a) of the Constitution to the extent of the inconsistency with sections 139(5), 139(7) and 153(a) of the Constitution.

“In highlighting the corruption occurring within the financial administration of the municipality, it incurred unauthorised expenditure in the amount of R1 474 880 000 in the financial year, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the amount of R180 736 297 and irregular expenditure in the amount of R307 922 701 for the same period. These figures are astounding and draw a direct line between the suffering of residents not receiving basic services and the ANC’s inability to govern honestly and effectively,” said George Michalakis.

“Subsequently, the DA will ask the Court in terms of section 139(5) to order the provincial government to impose a financial recovery plan for the municipality to meet its financial commitments and to provide basic services to residents, that the municipality should be compelled to take steps to implement the plan and, should it fail to do so, that it will either be dissolved or that the provincial government assume responsibility for the implementation of the recovery plan,” continued Michalakis.


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