Addressing the first political MuniMEC meeting at a local hotel in East London, Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha condemned the negative impact of state capture in municipalities which he said has destroyed the culture of good governance and accountability.

This is a quarterly a forum co-ordinated by Cogta and is attended by Executive Mayors, Mayors, Heads of provincial and national departments, Municipal Managers, representatives of State Owned Enterprises (SoE), South African Local Government Association (Salga). The forum is assembled to share information and discuss issues of common interest as articulated within the IGR Framework Act 13 of 2005.

MEC Nqatha said the negative impact of state capture depleted resources including the capacity of the state to collect revenue in Eskom and the South African Revenue Services (SARS), amongst others.

“The negative effect is now felt even in our municipalities wherein financial reserves have been literary exhausted resulting in a state of bankruptcy. Our municipalities are riddled with factions that have led to some officials compromising their professionalism for short term conveniences. Indeed, state capture destroyed accountability mechanisms in our state institutions to serve our communities better,” said MEC Nqatha.

He called on municipal leadership to attend to these matters in the context of the call for renewal led by State President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The MEC said for the renewal project to succeed, the Province requires “genuine ethical and servant leadership that is committed to serve our communities.”

He said he has joined capable municipal leadership that is positioned it to respond to the needs of the communities. For that reason, he said, as leadership they must relate with one another “professionally” and within the confines of the legislative parameters.

The MEC added that as the country moves towards the 2021 Local Government Elections (LGE) the Province should prepare for an increase in community protests some of which will be “genuine whilst others engineered.” For that reason, there is a need for “a level of agility and speed” to respond to matters of service delivery to avoid community protests.

He said once petitions from aggrieved communities are submitted to his office, he has no choice but to investigate all the allegations contained therein.

MEC Nqatha said his department’s commitment to fight acts of fraud and corruption is “unwavering” working with all key stakeholders in the interest of good governance and sound financial management.

“We will make follow ups with Mayors of the affected municipalities on the enactment of the recommendations flowing from the forensic reports. We want to see actions being taken against perpetrators of financial misconduct to restore public confidence to state institutions. The need to deal with trust deficit in public representatives is great in the context of the renewal project. For that to happen, we are ready to open criminal cases against those people who are fingered in the reports for malfeasance,” he said.

The MEC assured the attendees in the session that the forensic investigations are conducted “professionally without any factional bias rather in the interest of good governance and nothing else.” Those who do not agree with the findings of the forensic reports, are free to follow the legal recourse. /ends/

Issued by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.  For Enquires please contact: Mr Mamnkeli Ngam on 071 685 7981 or MEC’s spokesperson Makhaya Komisa on 0735094516.