National cabinet says EMLM ‘failed to fulfil executive obligations’


The Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) says it will respond after a council meeting on Tuesday next week to the cabinet’s decision to place the municipality under national administration, due to, among other things, failure to fulfil its executive obligations.

On Thursday, April 7, a government document revealed that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet approved the intervention in terms of Section 139(7) of the Constitution, read together with Section 150 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act 56 of 2003).

The decision was informed by the municipality failing to make progress in the nearly four-year period it had been placed under administration by the Eastern Cape cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), pending its failed financial recovery.

The government document states that the municipality has been experiencing significant financial and service delivery failures for a prolonged period.

The Rep has reported on numerous controversial projects involving the municipality including the infamous R15m Lesseyton Stadium and the R98m Ezibeleni road tender as well as the much publicished burning down of the historic town hall and a few other buildings.

The EMLM had been placed under mandatory intervention by the Eastern Cape provincial executive in terms of Section 139(5) (a) of the Constitution in 2018.

“However, after the municipality failed to make progress in improving its financial and service delivery performance, Cabinet decided to place it under a national intervention.”

In terms of the intervention, the national government will now act instead of the provincial executive and national cabinet representatives (NCR) will be deployed to the municipality shortly. Furthermore, the finance minister will delegate powers to the NCR and will also be supported by a multidisciplinary team of experts.

The document says no decision has yet been taken to dissolve the municipal council.

Minister in the presidency, Mondli  Gungubele, finance minister Enoch Godongwana and the cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister,  Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will hold a media briefing next week to outline the national intervention.

The DA in the province welcomed the intervention. DA shadow MEC for Cogta, Vicky Knoetze, said the move was a scathing indictment on the Eastern Cape executive and the provincial Cogta that have failed to bring about the necessary changes since placing the municipality under administration in 2018.

“The DA has repeatedly highlighted the challenges faced by this municipality, which two provincial administrators failed to rectify. Residents have had to deal with collapsing service delivery and political instability while debt to creditors such as Eskom has soared.”