You are currently viewing our desktop site, do you want to download our app instead?
Moneyweb Android App Moneyweb iOS App Moneyweb Mobile Web App

NEW SENS search and JSE share prices

More about the app

Another citizen group takes its local municipality to court

In this case to get rid of a municipal manager who just won’t leave, despite repeated accusations of mismanagement.
A legal opinion commissioned by the municipality itself found that the municipal manager does not have the required qualifications. Image: Mamusa Local Municipality website

It seems the citizens of North West province have had it with dysfunctional local governments.

Moneyweb recently reported on a judgment in the Mmabatho High Court handing over control of water and sewage services in Kgetlenrivier to local residents after they had been left to rot.

Now a non-profit group called the Centre for Good Governance and Social Justice has brought a case before the same court, asking it to remove the municipal manager of Mamusa Local Municipality in North West province (based in Schweizer-Reneke), arguing that the manager is unqualified for the job and has run it into the ground.

Political pressure

“This court case came about because the municipality was placed under tremendous pressure by one local political faction to employ the manager, despite the fact that the interview panel did not recommend him for the post for want of qualifications and experience,” says Mandla Mpempe, executive director of the Centre for Good Governance and Social Justice.

And it’s not just Mpempe saying that.

A November 2020 legal opinion commissioned by the municipality itself found that Reuben Gincane had been appointed as Mamusa’s municipal manager between 2012 and 2017 despite not having the required qualifications.

Gincane was again appointed as municipal manager in late 2020 despite objections from residents, and in disregard of the recommendations of the interview panel.

The legal opinion on his appointment concludes that his lack of qualifications renders his appointment null and void.

Taking back control

“We have to start taking back control of local government in this country from the corrupt factions that have infiltrated it if we are to provide any kind of decent life for the people who live in these areas,” says Mpempe, a veteran ANC member and anti-apartheid activist who has now turned his attention to bringing accountability to local government.

Mamusa residents complain that sewage is spilling into the streets and even into houses, water supply is inconsistent and of poor quality, and broken street lamps and potholes remain unrepaired.

Yet rates and taxes are collected with ruthless efficiency – with a current debtors collection ratio of more than 100% in 2019.

This is according to Municipal Money, a website that tracks municipal performance across the country.

The same website shows that Mamusa relies on rates and taxes for about 58% of its spending, and the balance from national and provincial government.

Municipal council dissolved

The provincial government dissolved the municipal council in 2019 and placed it under administration after service delivery protests turned violent.

Even the mayor of Mamusa, Gotsilekgosi Batsi, has urged the local Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to intervene in what is claimed to be a highly irregular appointment of the municipal manager – apparently to no avail.

Batsi points to Gincane’s record of poor governance and lack of experience as reasons for demanding his removal.

Evidence in the financials

In a letter to the MEC, of which Moneyweb has a copy, Batsi spells out his reasons for demanding Gincane’s removal:

  • He presided over eight years of audit disclaimers issued by the Auditor-General;
  • In 2015/16, unauthorised expenditure amounting to R26.3 million was incurred;
  • Misrepresentations of fact were observed in the municipality’s cash flow statements; and
  • Payments amounting to R24.5 million were made without following supply chain management processes.

There is another intriguing aspect to this story.

Arson, forgery, criminal case

Mpempe says that in June 2017 the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) embarked on violent protests and burnt down the municipal offices.

“Their reasons had nothing to do with labour issues, but politics. They demanded that the then mayor, Aron Motswana, resign.

“In the process they burnt down the municipal offices.”

Three of the protesting workers were arrested for arson and public violence. Two were acquitted and one was sent to prison. It was later found that three internal municipal workers were involved in the arson attack, for which they were dismissed. The dismissed municipal workers applied for review at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council and were found to have been correctly dismissed. They then purported to have approached the Labour Court.

On January 24, 2020, a few days after local by-elections in Mamusa, a settlement agreement was apparently signed and the workers were reinstated.

Mpempe and the Centre for Good Governance and Social Justice say this settlement agreement is a forgery. The centre has opened a criminal case of fraud, corruption and forgery under case number 13/7/2020 with the Schweizer-Reneke police.

“This matter is receiving attention, however, these employees are at work,” says Mpempe.

Legal challenge

The centre is emboldened by the recent success of Kgetlengrivier residents who have been ordered by the court to take over water and sewage services. Mpempe has been meeting with the lawyers for the Kgetlengrivier residents and plans to launch a similar legal challenge against the Mamusa municipality.

“We’ve suffered through years of broken service delivery, electricity outages, water supply interruptions and incompetent management,” says Mpempe.

“We would like nothing more than to have the court hand over control of local services to residents so that we can appoint service providers who are actually willing and able to do the job.”

Moneyweb reached out to Mamusa municipality and the North West provincial Cogta for comment.

The municipality promised a reply to emailed questions by Friday, February 19, but no reply was received, despite follow up.

Similarly, no reply was received from the provincial department of Cogta.

Please consider contributing as little as R20 in appreciation of our quality independent financial journalism.

AUTHOR PROFILE

COMMENTS   15

Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in to comment.

SIGN IN SIGN UP

Actions like these from residents are going to happen more often. But it is not only the municipal manager that is at fault. The people responsible for maintaining infrastructure is also at fault. One can do ones job even though the top brass is corrupt. The rot is right through this municipality.

This is a story that has played out in 90% of the ANC run municipalities in SA.
They were handed functional municipal services and infrastructure only to loot and destroy it.
The way of Africa.

And money in the bank. Now they (ratepayers) are saddled with enormous- and growing debt. Something’s got to give.

Is there a Guinness World Record for how many times citizens have taken their government to court?

Same should happen to National Government.

Its the same quality of anc cadre (maybe with slightly longer fingers) that has no ability (and will never have) of running anything that’s is now left in a position where all he is good for is looting state coffers.

It is clear they can not look after themselves. Let the court appoint someone to do that.

Let’s hope this is the start of an avalanche of court cases against all corrupt misrablepalities in the land. It won’t take long for the provincial and national government to fix itself once this writing is clearly on the wall.

I still need to know why residents still vote for the ANC even after they have received no basic services. Boggles the mind!

3 questions:

1. To a person in rural areas; who are the alternatives,
2. Will you vote for another party; if you were told by the chief not to,
3. Will you vote for another party; if you’ve told you may lose your grants by voting for another party.

Muks:

1. Use the retired omies en tannies sitting on the stoep with little to do. Most towns have retired folks who are knowledgeable and more than willing to help. South Africa has a huge untapped pool of skill in greypower …. unfortunately the local authorities would rather see services terminate than ask them for help. Cadre deployment is killing our country.
2. Valid question. My impression (I may be wrong) is most voters don’t unedrstand if you vote the ANC out then you can change again at a later stage if you so choose. Folks seem to think it’s a done deal forever.
3. The opposition parties have missed the boat on this one. They should prominently announce that the grants are not in danger in the runup to the upcoming local elections. Steenhuysen and Co are asleep at the wheel on this issue.

That is true Muks but so sad!

@boepens. “Met ‘n draad and ketting …” they maintained their farms and sewerage plants. What is missing … is pride. I’m of the opinion to bring back 1 year conscription to fix this country e.g. Israel . Not necessary to deploy to the army; but to do work in schools, hospitals doing admin, nursing homes , doing admin at municipalities. Conscription may include to choose a technical skill; like carpentry etc.

I agree that the DA have lost valuable time. No use barking at the ills of the ANC; but to do “something” for the benefit of at a least ONE community in Limpopo/NW/Gauteng. They need to sell their success in WC to the rest of SA.

”Two buttocks of one bum”

T. Surge Moore English Poet (1870-1944)

This is what happens with the ANC so-called affirmative action mismanagement ”cadre deployment” policies!

Kgetlenrivier and North West province (based in Schweizer-Reneke) municipalities, both left their residents to rot in sewerage by running it into the ground!

Municipalities are training grounds for cadres to show their ability to strip the assets of the municipalities and re-purpose it for their own and ANC use. Once they have proved themselves at that level, they can then be promoted to provincial structures and from their to parliament. If the evidence at the Zondo deflection show is anything to go by.

Despite this, the ANC will still be voted in. Then the people will wonder why they are still living in abject poverty and conditions continue to deteriorate. No doubt, the whites and WMC will be blamed for the failure of the racist ANC regime and the voters to hold them accountable.

The right to vote enables the average citizen to use a municipality as an instrument to turn his immediate circumstances into a manifestation of his mindset. I don’t think a court can stop this process, unless the court protects people from themselves by blocking their right to express themselves through their vote.

When a law enables people who do not own property to tax people who do, it is only a matter of time before the sewage ends up in the drinking water.

Another indictment on current ‘Black’ South Africa. Their parents fought for this country and now they treat it like ‘dirt’ and must be taken to court to be forced to do their jobs for the country and community. Astonishing, I’m not aware of anything like this in human history.

End of comments.

LATEST CURRENCIES  

USD / ZAR
GBP / ZAR
EUR / ZAR

Podcasts

INSIDER SUBSCRIPTIONS APP VIDEOS RADIO / LISTEN LIVE SHOP OFFERS WEBINARS NEWSLETTERS TRENDING PORTFOLIO TOOL CPD HUB

Follow us:

Search Articles: Advanced Search
Click a Company: