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DA says Bay interim mayor cannot legally pass budget - new Mayor must be elected

Jun 5, 2020
DA says Bay interim mayor cannot legally pass budget - new Mayor must be elected

Port Elizabeth - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) says it has written to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the Eastern Cape MEC for CoGTA, Xolile Nqata, and requested them to urgently intervene to ensure that an Executive Mayor is duly elected with all speed in the NMB Municipality.

"I have also previously written to the Speaker of Council, Cllr Buyelwa Mafaya, to request an urgent special council meeting to elect an Executive Mayor," said DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga, who is also the party's Nelson Mandela Bay Maayoral candidate.

"The Municipality plans to table its draft budget and draft IDP at the special council meeting set down for Friday. This draft budget could be fatally flawed in the absence of a duly elected Executive Mayor and be open to legal scrutiny by ratepayers and consumers.

"We have now learned that National Treasury has written to the Acting City Manager highlighting concerns about fact that draft budget timelines and legislation have not been adhered to and warned that grant funding can be withheld if this is not rectified immediately."

Bhanga said that this could have been averted if Acting Executive Mayor, Cllr Tshonono Buyeye, had taken head of my letter on the 15th of May requesting that he schedules an urgent briefing session with the CFO and all party political leaders to discuss, amongst others:

? The amended process plan with regards to the tabling and adoption of the 2020/21 IDP AND MTREF;
? Details as to public participation processes to be followed in respect of the 2020/21 IDP and MTREF.

He added that the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), which regulates the responsibilities of Mayors with regards to municipal finance, states clearly that the responsibilities of the budgeting process is that of the Executive Mayor of a municipality.

"No provision is made for an Interim Mayor to preside over the tabling of the municipal budget, and to do so would mean the process will be fatally flawed and open to legal challenge," Bhanga explained.

"I have, therefore, requested the Speaker that a special council meeting be called to elect an Executive Mayor.

"If the election of an Executive Mayor is not attended to before the tabling of the draft budget the DA caucus will not attend the special council meeting. We cannot lend legitimacy to a flawed budget process.

"The tabling of the budget is of critical importance and has already been significantly hampered by the regulations imposed by the National State of Disaster."

Bhanga also said that the process remains constrained in terms of timeframes remaining to attend to public participation, as well as the final adoption of the annual budget.

"The DA will do everything in its power to stabilise the administration of the City and this starts with appointment of an Executive Mayor and the tabling of a credible budget."

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