An administrator has been appointed to implement interventions in the Oudtshoorn Local Municipality, says the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Ministry.

Earlier this week the Ministry appointed Kamalasan Chetty as the administrator for a period of six months to implement the intervention, after the national and provincial government agreed to intervene.

The intervention is in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution as a corrective measure of last resort, to bring stability, good governance and service delivery for all residents in the municipality.

Creating vibrant forums

“This follows numerous attempts by national and provincial government to deal with ongoing challenges faced by the municipality with regard to political and administrative instability; non-functional council structures; irregular acting appointments in senior positions; water pollution and refuse removal and general breakdown in delivery of services to communities; irregular appointment of service providers and procurement processes; poor communication with communities; and eskom debt and decline of the tourism industry.”

According to the Ministry Chetty will lead a joint national-provincial intervention team comprising four officials — two with expertise in finance and legal services from the Western Cape Provincial Government, and two from National Government to cover other relevant fields, including but not limited to human resource management and engineering services.

“The Administrator will be vested with all the powers and functions reasonable necessary to ensure that the proper functioning of the Municipal Council of Oudtshoorn is restored,” said the Ministry.

During the intervention period, the Administrator will, among other things, assist councillors to make ward committee’s vibrant forums for discussing development issues, and increase community outreach programmes, izimbizo and visible leadership on the ground.

Forensic investigation

The Ministry also said there will be an official forensic investigation into fraud and corruption and the municipality will be supported to act on all forensic reports and internal audit reports.

“The objective is to address critical community concerns relating to water pollution in the Olifants River, management of the Landfill sites, housing and infrastructure services, and will ensure both quick win improvements as well as building long term infrastructure management capacity.

“The team will provide support for infrastructure planning, procurement and contract management. This could include managing projects on behalf of the municipality if necessary,” the Ministry said.

The Ministry said the intervention is also meant to get the municipal budget back into surplus, strengthen internal controls and transparency in the Budget and Treasury Office, and improve long term financial planning, financial recovery plan.