Emfuleni is a government-created disaster
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) declares the Emfuleni Local Municipality a government-created disaster and again calls for its immediate dissolution.
Acting on behalf of Emfuleni ratepayers, local businesses and communities, OUTA has written to Premier David Makhura calling for this process to begin in earnest.
“OUTA is horrified and outraged by the arrogance and contempt which the Emfuleni councillors have displayed towards the communities they are meant to represent. The Emfuleni council has consistently evaded any attempts by the Gauteng government to intervene in this municipality. Citizens of Emfuleni continue to suffer at the hands of non-responsive, self-absorbed and greedy councilors,” says Makhosi Khoza, Executive Director: OUTA Local Governance.
“The provincial government resolved to intervene in Emfuleni in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution on 13 June, yet the Emfuleni council only considered this on 19 July and then only noted the Gauteng executive’s intention to intervene,” says Khoza.
S139 sets out how provinces intervene in failing municipalities, including issuing directives, taking over specific functions, imposing a recovery plan and revenue-raising measures, dissolving a council and appointing an administrator.
“The situation in Emfuleni has deteriorated to proportions that threaten life. There are reports that livestock is dying due to raw sewage flowing into the streams and rivers,” says Khoza.
Within this context and in line with OUTA’s community driven intervention, we are calling for Section 139 (1) (c) intervention which provides for the dissolution of the municipality.
“This constitutional provision was proclaimed for situations like this where those elected no longer care about those they are meant to serve, the community. As civil society and communities we can no longer allow councillors to betray our mandate as voters,” says Khoza.
Despite the Emfuleni council’s repeated assurances of numerous plans to turn around the municipality over the past few years the situation has continued to decline, affecting human lives, property, infrastructure and the environment.
OUTA reminds the Premier that the Freedom Charter of 1955 declared that “the people shall govern”.
OUTA’s letter to the Premier asks for feedback within seven days on:
Dissolving the municipality;
Repairing electricity sub-stations that have burnt out or exploded;
Repairing sewer pumping stations and waste-water treatment plants;
Ensuring that the water supply, pumping stations and reservoirs are in order;
Ensuring that communities without water and electricity receive these services urgently;
Ensuring that businesses and residents receive an uninterrupted supply of electricity; and
Appointing competent, qualified and honest staff to oversee the administration and return the municipality to functionality.
“We also call on the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and the Portfolio Committee on Local Government to summon the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to account fully for his failure to perform his duties in ensuring that provinces and municipalities are functioning properly,” says Khoza.