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Elundini Municipality sets record straight on establishment of its EXCO

Apr 16, 2018
Elundini Municipality sets record straight on establishment of its EXCO

The Elundini Local Municipality on Monday refuted allegations by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape that it unlawfully established an Executive Committee (EXCO) and has refused to overturn its decision following an instruction to do so by Eastern Cape MEC and Cooperate Governance and Traditional Affairs, Fikile Xasa.

Read the article HERE.

According to Khaya Gashi, Elundini Local Municipality Municipal Manager, the 2016 local government elections in Elundini Local Municipality produced the following results: -

Political Party

Total number of seats in Council

%of seats won

African National Congress

28

82,35

Democratic Alliance

2

5,88

Economic Freedom Fighters

1

2.94

African Independent Congress

1

2.94

United Democratic Movement

1

2,94

Independent

1

2.94

TOTAL

34

100

 

"Pursuant the inauguration of the new council, a special council meeting was convened on 23 August 2016 to, inter alia, elect the Executive Committee in terms of sections 43 and 45 of the Municipal Structures Act, 117 of 1998," he described.

"It should be noted that the total number of seats in the municipal council did not change. In the previous term 2011 – 2016, the municipal council had 34 seats as well."

Gashi explained that Section 43 of the Municipal Structures Act prescribes the composition of the Executive Committee as follows, inter alia: -

1)  If the council of a municipality establishes an executive committee, it must elect a number of councillors necessary for effective and efficient government, provided that no more than 20% of the councillors, or 10 councillors, whichever is the least, are elected. An executive committee may not have less than three members

2)  An executive committee must be composed in such a way that parties and interests represented in the municipal council are represented in the executive committee in SUBSTANTIALLY the same proportion they are represented in the council

Guided by the above provisions, the municipal council elected its Executive Committee as follows:

                      i.        African National Congress                        5

                    ii.        United Democratic Movement                   1

                                             TOTAL                                         6

"On 7 November 2016, the municipality received a letter from the MEC Eastern Cape provincial department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs," he said.

The letter, addressed to the Mayor Councillor N R Lengs, under the subject 'Non Compliance with Section 43 of the Municipal Structures Act, 1998: Composition of the EXCO' was raising the following pertinent issues, among others:-

Your municipality is amongst the municipalities in the province that have not complied with the provisions of this Act, thus rendering the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (EXCO) of the council not to be properly constituted. In your first council meeting the following was observed:

  1. Five names were nominated from the ANC and one (1) from the UDM by the ANC councillor. The other opposition parties, EFF and DA, contested this but it was decided that this must be addressed by vote through show of hands and the candidate nominated by the EFF and the DA was outvoted. Five (5) names from ANC and one (1) from UDM were declared elected. The opposition parties especially the DA indicated that they are not happy that the sixth seat is given to the UDM with one seat whilst the DA is the one that has two seats in Council.
  2. Further, it was observed that the calculation of the number of EXCO members in terms of Section 43(1) of the Structure Act, 1998 as amended was not done correctly. The correct calculation is that total number of seats multiplied by 20%, in the case of Elundini LM 34X20% = 6.8 which when rounded to the nearest ten are 7 members of the EXCO. The parties are represented in the Council as follows: ANC = 82%X7 =5,74 (6); DA = 5,88%X7 = 0.41 (0) EFF = 2.94X7 =0.20 (0) IC = 2.94X7 =0.20 (0); AIC = 2.94X7 = 0.20 and UDM = 2.94X7 = 0.20 (0). This means that the seventh seat must be allocated to the DA which is the second highest in terms of proportional representation in the Council. As it stands now, the seventh seat has not been allocated

Gashi explained; "Upon receipt of the MEC’s letter and in consultation with Mayor Lengs, the Municipal Manager addressed a letter dated 8 November 2016 to the HOD of COGTA –EC, raising that the officials of the department may have overlooked certain aspects when advising the MEC."

He said that the aspects raised were that: -

a)    The composition of the Executive Committee must be in such a way “that parties and interests represented in the municipal council are represented in substantially the same proportion they are represented in council”. Considering the wording of the Act reproduced verbatim, it could be deduced that members should not necessarily represent the parties and interests exactly proportionally, but merely substantially proportionally.

b)    As correctly captured in the MEC’s letter, Section 43(1) of the Structures Act directs that the council must elect no more than 20 per cent of the councillors, or 10 councillors whichever is the least. There does not appear to be any further supporting material or schedules in the Municipal Structures Act, which gives credence to your view that the 20% of the number of councillors for the municipality, which translates to 6.8, should be rounded off to the nearest 10. In the absence of this guidance, it would have been improper for the council to believe that, among its members, it has half members and the safest position therefore was to keep the number of EXCO members at 6. This has been the position even during the 2011 – 2016 term, and no similar issues were raised by the MEC.

"Our correspondence to the department has never been responded to. This is despite the fact that the municipal manager further raised the matter of the MEC’s directive at a technical MUNIMEC meeting held in February 2017. The acting HOD at the time had promised to address the matter and unfortunately she never did," he said.

"The matter of the MEC’s letter, and the municipality’s response thereto, including further letters to the South African Local Government Association (where advices were solicited, but never received) was reported to the municipal council in its meeting held on 13 June 2017).

"The Elundini Local Municipality, therefore, refutes any assertion that the Executive Committee is improperly constituted and therefore unlawful.

"The municipality requires a proper reflection on the contents raised in the letter of 8 November 2016 to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs."