Gauteng govt intervenes in Emfuleni, now there are no services

The Section 139 intervention by the Gauteng government into the corruption-ridden Emfuleni municipality has been a dismal failure and residents have been left without services. Governance at the municipality in Vanderbijlpark had collapsed, despite the appointment of an interim administrator as required by the constitution. The administrator failed to normalise the situation and instead early this year, the municipality's property worth millions of rands was attached by a sheriff because it owed over R2 billion to Eskom. Even ANC members within the parliamentary select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation and human settlements were disappointed by...
The Section 139 intervention by the Gauteng government into the corruption-ridden Emfuleni municipality has been a dismal failure and residents have been left without services.

Governance at the municipality in Vanderbijlpark had collapsed, despite the appointment of an interim administrator as required by the constitution.

The administrator failed to normalise the situation and instead early this year, the municipality's property worth millions of rands was attached by a sheriff because it owed over R2 billion to Eskom.

Even ANC members within the parliamentary select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation and human settlements were disappointed by the turn of events.

The situation vindicated the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and the Democratic Alliance, both of whom had highlighted collapsed governance, poor management, and corruption at the municipality.

Outa investigated and reported about massive service delivery failures and lack of accountability.

Committee chairman China Dodovu said his committee's view was that the municipality was in a crisis and the intervention had not helped, despite being in place for two years.

He said at the centre of the concerns were service delivery challenges, such as poor revenue collection, vacant senior positions, backlogs and the collapse of waste management services, an increase in sewage spillages into the Vaal River system, nonpayment of service providers, ailing and collapsing electricity infrastructure and serious allegations of corruption.

"The committee is disappointed that the MEC confirmed that two years after the intervention, they have come to realise that the decision to intervene was wrongly implemented," Dodovu said.

"On the balance of evidence, the intervention has not yielded any positive results. What is even more worrying is that the administrator responsible for the intervention was an employee of the municipality, which undercuts the intentions of the intervention."

This emerged during a discussion between the committee and the department on the progress made since Section 139 of the constitution was imposed on the ANC-run municipality in 2018.

Dodovu said the committee was concerned by long-standing debt owed various creditors. It owed over R2 billion to Eskom and R600 million to Rand Water.

Dodovu said his committee was also concerned that the provincial government had not provided the national council of provinces with quarterly reports on the intervention.

The committee will meet this week to consider the Emfuleni situation.

"Our preoccupation is ensuring that Emfuleni is returned to functionality," Dodovu said.

In a department of human settlements response yesterday, spokesperson Castro Ngobese said it would not like to engage another arm of the state in a manner that sought to undermine cooperative governance.

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