Are these the worst municipalities in South Africa?

Trade union Solidarity has called for a number of ‘incompetent’ managers at some of South Africa’s most “dysfunctional” municipalities, to be sacked.

Solidarity said that Pravin Gordhan, minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, must take decisive action against, having pointed out recently that more than a third of local municipalities are dysfunctional.

According to Dr Eugene Brink, senior economic researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI), Minister Gordhan has failed to deliver on his undertaking to crack down on under performing municipalities.

“Minister Gordhan called for incompetent municipal and financial managers to be fired last year. His renewed call casts doubt on whether he is serious about tackling the problem,” said Brink.

Solidarity compiled a list of the municipalities whose senior managers should be dismissed first:

  • The Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality is on the National Treasury’s list of the 64 worst-performing municipalities. Moreover, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) uncovered extensive financial irregularities and unauthorised expenditure totalling R16 million which was recorded during the last audit round.
  • At the Greater Taung Local Municipality in North West the services of consultants were obtained at a sum of R7 million owing to a shortage of critical skills in key posts. In addition, the Auditor-General recorded irregular expenditure totalling R71.7 million at this municipality.
  • The Kagisano-Molopo Local Municipality in North West incurred huge irregular expenditure amounting to R62.8 million. In addition, R8.4 million was spent on consultants owing to a shortage of skills in key posts.
  • In Mpumalanga the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality incurred unauthorised expenditure amounting to R114 million and irregular expenditure totalling R112 million. The municipality was placed under administration in April 2013 after service delivery had collapsed and the Auditor-General indicated that it was completely lacking in key competencies.
  • In the Free State the Mafube Local Municipality stands out as one of the weakest municipalities among a multitude of weak municipalities. Unauthorised expenditure of R131 million and irregular expenditure of R120 million were recorded at this municipality during the last audit round.

Additional municipalities which recieved poor ratings from Solidarity included:

  • Limpopo: Aganang, Elias Motsoaledi, Ephraim Mogale and Greater Tubatse local municipalities;
  • Mpumalanga: Emalahleni (Witbank), Thaba Chweu, Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme and Dr JS Moroka local municipalities;
  • Free State: Moqhaka, Ngwathe, Masilonyana, Tokologo and Nala local municipalities;
  • North West: Tswaing, Ratlou, Ramotshere Moiloa and Ditsobotla local municipalities.
  • Gauteng: Westonaria and Randfontein local municipalities.

Brink said that all of the above mentioned municipalities received extremely poor audit ratings during the recent audits.

“The vast majority of the mentioned municipalities did not provide sufficient evidence to the auditor to enable him to reach a finding. Moreover, the lack of evidence is not limited to a specific a amount, but applies to a lot of the information in the municipalities’ financial statements,” Brink said.

Times Live reported earlier this week, that 36 senior municipal managers, whose academic qualifications do not meet their job requirements, were in line for the chop, after Gordhan called on unqualified managers to be fired.

The municipal managers of Nelson Mandela Bay, in Eastern Cape, and Ntambanana, in KwaZulu-Natal, had already been dismissed.

Of the 278 municipalities in the country, only 42 municipal managers and 15 CFOs have a doctorate or a masters degree, the Times reported.

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Are these the worst municipalities in South Africa?