The wheels are in motion to place George under administration. Anton Bredell, minister of local government, started the process last week. Acting on his behalf while Bredell visits Germany, Minister of Transport Donald Grant told the George Herald on Monday that his colleague has "applied his mind" and started with the process to place three municipalities under administration - George, Bitou and Laingsburg.
"Yes, he is going to. He
(Bredell) instigated the process for all three municipalities," said Grant. George Municipality will be given the opportunity to give reasons why they shouldn't be placed under administration.
In reply to a question by
ANC MP Pierre Uys last week in the Provincial Legislature, Bredell said he has started implementing Article 106 of the Municipal Systems Act, following the Hawks' raid at George Municipality on 23 April. A member of the Executive Council (MEC) may apply this act if there is reason to believe that a municipality cannot or does not fulfil a statutory obligation binding on that municipality, or in the case of fraud, corruption, mal admin i st ratio no ra n y other serious malpractice.
In accordance with the act Bredell must, by written notice to the municipality, request the council or municipal manager to provide information required in the notice. This step precedes the procedure to place a municipality under administration.
Bredell said his department requested the Provincial
Forensic Services (PFS) to investigate allegations of, among others, corruption and mal admin i st ratio n ." O n the basis of the prima facie evidence, the Hawks carried outa search and seizure operation at the municipality and at the mayor's, municipal manager's and certain service providers' homes. In addition to the cooperation between the Hawks, the PFS and the Department of Local Government, I am implementing Article 106 of the Municipal Systems Act."
Who may suspend who?
The DA Federal Executive Committee (Fedex) has started procedures to suspend the George mayor, Melvin Naik. According to Fedex chairperson James Selfe, the DA party is dealing with the issue of Naik's suspension, but they cannot suspend the municipal manager, Trevor Botha.
On the other hand, Council has the authority to suspend Botha, but cannot suspend
Naik. "Council could invoke the Regulations for Senior Managers (2010) if it considers that there are sufficient grounds to suspend the municipal manager. The George council cannot suspend a mayor," said Selfe.
Anton Bredell, minister of local government.