The Democratic Alliance welcomes the news that ANC Councillor and Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality (IYLM) Mayor, Ray Shweni, and ANC councillor and Chief Whip, Tembisile Bobo, have resigned.
Just last week hundreds of residents joined the DA and took to the streets, calling for the removal of Shweni as mayor, as service delivery in the IYLM, and especially in the towns of Cradock and Middelburg, has come to a virtual standstill and residents are suffering.
The DA is not blind to the fact that these resignations are nothing more than an attempt by Shweni, Bobo and the ANC, to avoid the consequences for the blatant maladministration and misappropriation of public funds under their watch.
It must be noted that, following a complaint lodged by DA Cllr Monde Desha with the Public Protector (PP), Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, it was found that Mayor Shweni, other ANC Councillors and officials in the IYLM misappropriated public funds in excess of R125 000 to transport ANC members to party political events in 2017.
This report led to the IYLM Ethics Committee last month recommending to Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Xolile Nqatha, that Shweni must be removed as a councillor of the municipality.
The PP also instructed that the misappropriated funds must be recovered from the individuals involved, and the DA will continue to pressure the municipality to enact this recommendation.
These resignations also fail to resolve the crisis in IYLM.
- The municipality still owes Eskom over R130 million and the utility is threatening to switch the electricity off.
- Overspending and continued use of outsourced services despite having staff members employed to perform the functions.
- An unstable electrical network, broken streetlights and the inability of IYLM to curb distribution losses and theft.
- Crumbling road infrastructure and blocked stormwater drains.
- Erratic refuse removal and illegal dumping sites across wards.
- Political appointments in the offices of the Mayor and Speaker and in the office of the ANC Chief Whip, and cash purchases of luxury vehicles for the Mayor and Speaker.
- The Municipal Manager and the Chief Financial Officer do not have the minimum competencies to hold office.
Following Shweni’s resignation, the council proceeded to vote for what they termed an interim mayor, despite no such provision being available to them via the Local Government Municipal Structures Act.
This just further highlights the incompetency of the Municipal Manager, who ignored the advice given to him by DA councillors.
It is for this reason that I will once again be writing to Premier Oscar Mabuynae and COGTA MEC Nqatha, to request that Section 154 support be given to IYLM.
I will also ask MEC Nqatha to take immediate corrective steps regarding the irregular appointment of the interim mayor.
Section 154 states that national and provincial governments must support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, and it is clear that IYLM are in desperate need of such support.
The DA is committed to fighting corruption, speeding up basic service delivery and an open society for all.
Retief Odendaal, MPL
EC Midlands Constituency Leader
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