Administrator takes reigns at embattled Makana Local Municipality


A municipal administrator is expected to begin the process of turning around the embattled Makana Local Municipality on Monday, 15 September after Bhisho decided to intervene.

At a press briefing at the Grahamstown City Hall on Wednesday, Eastern Cape MEC for Local Government Fikile Xasa confirmed that they were busy with finishing touches to the process that was launched two weeks ago after Minister Pravin Gordhan met with the municipal officials.

Xasa, who was visiting the municipality for the second time in to weeks, said that this was the Makana Local Municipality's last chance to get their act together. He said that the Provincial Executive Council (Exco) had officially approved the implementation of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution.

He also urged the Makana Municipality leadership to work together with the administrator.

"It is the last opportunity in terms of the Constitution. The next step would be section 139 (1) (c) and it's not something we wish to get to, because that would mean a complete dissolution of the whole administration," Xasa said.

He said the Makana Municipality was one of the few Eastern Cape municipalities’ that have contributed negatively to the province's local government performance rating.

"In fact, we said to ourselves that at the end of September we wanted to stabilise municipalities. Makana has not helped us to realise that target... 

“We expect the leaderships of municipalities to take charge of their situation. The department is there to provide support, but can only understand the gaps if we are also close to the situation," he said.

Xasa also said that government was uncomfortable with the levels of political and administrative instability in some municipalities in the Eastern Cape adding that it was time to reverse this trend.

Makana Local Municipality Mayor, Zamuxolo Peters, acknowledged the municipality's failures.

"I think we have made things easy because we have done our own introspection as to what are the challenges of this institution," he said.

"I think we can safely say we have set aside our egos as the leadership and agreed, because there was a Council resolution to that effect."

He said they would embrace the 139 (1) (b) municipal intervention and will not interfere with the process.

"I think the MEC is right to say we have let the province down as far as he is concerned. Makana is strategic in nature and we don't deserve to be where we are at the moment.

"We have learnt from our mistakes and we believe that with the assistance of the province we will turn things around," Peter said.

Photo caption: INTERVENTION... Eastern Cape MEC for Local Government Fikile Xasa.