Ikwezi municipality has no solution to solve salary crisis - DA

BY CHARL BOSCH - MAY 26, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape has expressed concern after it was revealed that municipal workers, councillors and officials from the troubled Ikwezi Local Municipality had not received their salaries due to a lack of funds.

Speaking in an interview with RNews, the party’s council representative, Johnny Lewis, said that around 100 government agents were being affected and that matter, which was tabled by the municipality’s Chief Financial Officer at the end of last year, was showing no signs of being resolved.

“Around November, we were informed that there would be problems regarding salaries. A proposal was then made by the administration to council for an overdraft account, which council was entitled to,” Lewis said.

“However, when there was no money for month-after-month, attempts would be made to get funds from the province. The biggest problem is that the salaries take too much out of the budget”.

The municipality, comprising of Jansenville, Klipplaat and Waterford, has been characterised by claims of poor service delivery and wide-scale financial irregularities, which resulted in it being placed under administration and garnering numerous disclaimers by the auditor general.

Lewis stated that the municipality has provided no details of a possible solution to the problem, adding that the ignoring of calls and messages by embattled Mayor Sizwe Mngwevu was not new.

“The mayor never responds and even failed to respond to written questions and answers in the treasury. About two months ago, I send him three written questions for written replies but he did not respond and even failed to acknowledge the email or letter,” Lewis remarked.

Asked whether he believed Mngwevu’s failure to communicate with council was partly to blame for the municipality’s current problems, Lewis said that the mayor had also barred officials from talking or providing information to DA councillors, saying that the workings of his job as a councillor was being infringed.

“As a councillor, I am not allowed to call officials to my office and set-up a meeting as I would be directly interfering with council. But he gives out instructions left-right and centre to officials and even the municipal manager. This is against the code of conduct for councillors and municipal officials.”

In February, DA Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip accused the ruling ANC of practising a “desperate political expediency” plan after Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Pravin Gordhan, had indicated that the municipality would merge with the DA-run Baviaans Local Municipality and ANC-led Camdeboo Local Municipality to form one council.

“Camdeboo is a strategic municipality target we can win, but if you combine them, none of these strategic municipalities are technically winnable by the DA and are safely ANC. The timing also leads one to see that the motive appears political rather than administrative,” Trolip was quoted by Business Day as saying at the time.

 

CAPTION: Jansenville, base of the  Ikwezi Local Municipality IMAGE sourced from www.thehubsa.co.za