Maquassi Hills needs to be placed under Section 139 (5) (a) administration - Leon Basson

DA NWest PL says local municipality owes Sedibeng water R254m, Eskom R33m, and failed to pay salaries this month

DA demands Maquassi Hills be placed under Section 139 (5) (a) administration

27 May 2022

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the North West will today write to Premier Bushy Maape, the MEC for Finance, Motlalepula Rosho, and the MEC for COGHSTA, Lenah Miga, to immediately begin the process to place the Maquassi Hills Local Municipality under Section 139 (5)(a) of the Constitution.

This follows our Town Hall meeting this morning, in Wolmaransstad, where we engaged residents on mechanisms available to us to bring stability to the municipality. The DA received a mandate from the community to proceed with the demand to place the municipality under administration. See photos here, here, and here.

The community engaged us on the total collapse in governance, and the complete halt of service delivery, specifically water and electricity supply, refuse collection, sanitation services, and roads maintenance.

Since the election in November last year, there has been no attempt by the ANC-led government under the failed leadership of Mayor Mzwandile Feliti to restore governance and service delivery in Maquassi Hills.

Maquassi Hills is in severe financial distress. It owes Sedibeng Water R254 million, Eskom R33 million and a creditors book to the value of more than R60 million. This month the municipality failed to pay salaries. The salary bill exceeds the funding by R1 million a month, totaling R7,8 million for 280 salaried officials.

Section 139 (5)(a) empowers Provincial Treasury to completely assume responsibility for the municipality’s affairs, to prepare a financial recovery plan, and implement it within a stipulated timeframe. It is the only intervention with the legislative backing that could bring stability to Maquassi Hills.

Should Provincial Treasury fail, then National Treasury must intervene, as has been the case with the Lekwa Local Municipality in Mpumalanga, following a High Court Order last year, under Section 139(7) of the Constitution, read together with Section 150 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

For the last three weeks, Maquassi Hills residents have been held ransom by municipal employees engaged in a political standoff with the ANC-led government. This is absolutely unacceptable. The ANC cannot govern and municipal employees cannot deliver services. This must be brought to an end.

The DA will continue to assist the people of Maquassi Hills to bring stability to the municipality. But ultimately, in order to rebuild the municipality, the community must mobilise behind the DA and elect the DA to govern in their interest.

Statement issued by Leon Basson MP - DA North West Provincial Leader, 27 May 2022