Cape Times

MPs slam Kannaland mayor’s ‘network issues’ absence excuse

- OKUHLE HLATI okhule.hlati@inl.co.za

SOME MPs have described the embattled Kannaland Municipali­ty as having “no leadership” after mayor Jeffrey Donson snubbed a meeting with the National Assembly’s co-operative governance and traditiona­l affairs committee, claiming “connectivi­ty challenges”.

The intention of the engagement this week was for the committee to be updated on the implementa­tion of recommenda­tions during its oversight visit in January last year as the municipali­ty faced financial woes and other issues.

Provincial government involved in assisting the municipali­ty told the committee that while there were programmes to support it, systemic issues that hamper optimal municipal functional­ity persisted as it kept on changing administra­tive leadership.

Senior manager Sandra Greyling said: “As the province, we would have to go back and do orientatio­ns in relation to the support plan implementa­tion process. There is still a high staff compositio­n and staff complement not aligned with the needs of the municipali­ty and impacting financial sustainabi­lity.

“There is ageing water infrastruc­ture and issues of water quality. We needed to place section 139 of the Constituti­on to help with the finance, which included imposing a financial recovery plan.”

The recovery plan is currently being prepared by the National Treasury and will be binding on the municipali­ty to implement it.

However, the province also bemoaned the municipali­ty’s co-operation, including actively participat­ing in the process being undertaken by National Treasury to develop the financial recovery plan.

Department of Co-operative Governance DDG Scelo Duma said the municipali­ty reported to have achieved its targets when delivering basic services and responded to service requests in the standard response time.

Duma said the municipali­ty was a hung council described as being dysfunctio­nal and they were also greatly concerned about a report not being submitted.

When Donson was called to introduce the team and make his remarks, Kannaland acting municipal manager Dillo Sereo said that he could not see them online and would request his office to give an update on what was happening.

A municipal official with Sereo made their presentati­on and said it should be noted that the municipali­ty was dealing with the historical issues that came into effect after the implementa­tion of Section 139 in 2019. Prior to that, the municipali­ty’s financial coffers and audit opinion were at an acceptable norm.

Committee chairperso­n Fikile Xasa called for Donson or his deputy to respond to many questions that remained unanswered but Dillo said the mayor was experienci­ng network challenges while using his laptop and would use his cellphone, however, this was also apparently unsuccessf­ul.

Xasa and MPs resolved that the meeting be adjourned and a physical meeting be held.

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