Tshwane under administration, what next?

(Gauteng Premier Mr David Makhura addressing the conference). HIII Thematic Meeting on Informal Settlements held at CSIR Convention centre, Pretoria in 2016 / Siyasanga Mbambani

City of Tshwane under administration: Where to from here?

Now that the City of Tshwane has been placed under administration, we all want to know what happens next.

Tshwane under administration, what next?

(Gauteng Premier Mr David Makhura addressing the conference). HIII Thematic Meeting on Informal Settlements held at CSIR Convention centre, Pretoria in 2016 / Siyasanga Mbambani

On Thursday 5 March, Gauteng premier David Makhura announced that the City of Tshwane would be placed under administration and the council would be dissolved due to failed meetings and blatant disregard for the residents of Tshwane. 

Now that the council has been dissolved, we need to know what comes next, like who will be in charge during the administration and for how long and all the details into why the decision was taken. 

What does ‘under administration’ mean? 

According to the George Herald and DA regional hairperson Jaco Londt, a municipality being placed under administration means the following: 

“Section 139 of the South African Constitution allows provincial intervention in local government when that municipality fails to fulfil their executive obligations in terms of the constitution or legislation.”

“One of these interventions may include putting a municipality under administration. This will mean that there will be no executive positions and that an administrator will be appointed to manage and oversee the day-to-day running of the municipality.” 

David Makhura announces Tshwane administration  

Makhura announced the dissolution of the Tshwane council and the city being placed under administration on Thursday morning. 

In a joint meeting with Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile on Thursday morning, he said they would intervene in any municipality where service delivery grinds to a halt and residents are suffering — in this case, the City of Tshwane. 

“The Provincial Government has a constitutional responsibility and obligation to the residents of Tshwane to create stability and ascertain continuity of service delivery,” he added. 

Who will govern Tshwane now? 

At a Gauteng Executive Council meeting on Wednesday afternoon, 4 March, the government gathered to assess the developments in the City Tshwane and decided to invoke section 139(1) (c) of the Constitution.

This meant that the Tshwane Municipal Council would be dissolved and an administrator would be appointed to run the municipality until a new council is elected within 90 Days.

“The City of Tshwane has been deteriorating rapidly and is evidently on the decline. Residents are suffering while political parties are fighting in council and in the courts,” said Maile. 

It is unknown, at this stage, who the administrator will be and how long they will be in service. 

However, Necsa Group Executive for Business Development and Innovation, Brian Mphahlele put forth a suggestion saying: 

“Bring @MajaShane as an administrator. The man is truly a servant of the people. He has been spoken about by all Gauteng patriots in the arts fraternity as the man they have been waiting for. Can the people of Tshwane benefit from his wisdom.”

The person Mphahlele is referring to is Shane Maja and according to his Twitter account, he is the acting CEO of the Gauteng Film Commission. 

Here’s why the decision was taken 

According to Maile, the decision to place Tshwane under administration is due to the following: 

  • Flagrant disregard for the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), especially regarding procurement processes, which has eroded good governance in the city, as can be evidenced by the tenders irregularly awarded to Glad Africa and Aurecon;
  • Unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure flagged by the auditor general. The City has been slow in effectively applying consequence management to deal with matters raised by the auditor general;
  • Failure to spend conditional grants, leading to loss of money in terms of its financial position, the city is facing serious challenges given its current inability to pay all its creditors and the serious problems it’s experiencing in revenue collection;
  • Constant irregular appointments of senior managers, for example, CoGTA received the appointment report of the municipal manager and various managers directly accountable to the municipal manager between January and September 2017;
  • The Department found some areas to be non-compliant with Regulation 17(4) of the Local Government Regulations on Appointment and Conditions of Employment of Senior; 
  • Since 2016, the city has failed to elect WardCommittees that allow citizens to get involved in how their communities are governed. This is against Municipal Structures Act of clean drinking water is severely compromised and refuse collection is at its worst; and
  • All these issues were raised with the Municipality in several correspondences and directives by the MEC Urban Planning, Human Settlements and COGTA, but the Municipality failed to act on the directives.

Tshwane without a mayor 

Maille explained that the City of Tshwane is still without a mayor and a municipal manager. 

“The council has failed to meet and consider matters that affect the functioning of the municipality and service delivery,” he said. 

This comes after several council meetings, held to appoint a new mayor, collapsed from as far back as November 2019. A new mayor had to be appointed after the contoversial Stevens Mokgalapa resigned.

After multiple walkouts and arguments between the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) over speakers and court papers, each council meeting turned out to be a failure. 

“We take note of veiled threats of court action by leaders of a particular political party but we will not be blackmailed into inaction. We want to warn political parties not play political games with the lives of residents,” said Maile. 

“The current uncertainty, instability, inaction and collapse of service must be confronted fearlessly and stopped in its track. The people of Tshwane must come first.”

Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile

“The Gauteng Provincial Government is taking this drastic step in the best interest of the people of Tshwane. All necessary steps in terms of the Constitution will be followed to give effect to the intervention,” he added.