The continued failure by the ANC-led Makana Municipal Council to address the dire financial situation within the municipality and to improve service delivery for its residents is evidenced by the latest correspondence from National Treasury. Apparently considered at a special council meeting on 13 November 2023, the letter requires the Makana Municipality to repay more than R60 million in unused conditional grants, which were not spent timeously and for which the municipality failed to properly apply for rollovers.
The correspondence makes it clear that it was sheer incompetence that led to the requirement from Treasury that the municipality repay the grants: it simply did not meet the time frame in which it was required to request the rollover. This, however, is typical of Makana, which is well known for its years of disclaimer audits and failure to report. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that the municipality does not have the financial reserves to be able to comply with this directive.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has repeatedly called for this municipality to be placed under administration, and for forensic audits to be conducted to determine the root causes of its financial distress. These calls have largely fallen on deaf ears within the ANC. Most recently a Financial Recovery Plan was imposed on the municipality, but we have seen no evidence of its implementation, nor reports of what has been accomplished in terms thereof.
The situation has now deteriorated to the extent that the only solution is to dissolve the council and put a new government in charge. In terms of s139(5) of the Constitution, the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive must dissolve council if it does not approve a budget that gives effect to the Financial Recovery Plan. Clearly it has not done so.
The simple fact is that the ANC in Makana have been given too many chances by the provincial and national government. The only real solution is to elect a competent new government, led by a party with a proven track record of fiscal discipline and excellent service delivery, and to appoint competent personnel to head up the municipal administration.
We have written to the Premier of the Eastern Cape to express these concerns and will closely monitor the Provincial response. A failure by the province to take decisive action will lead to this matter being escalated to the National Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Makana cannot afford another three years of incompetence and maladministration.
The DA will fight to rescue the Eastern Cape and Makana from corruption and maladministration.