North West provincial government has confirmed that the JB Marks municipality has been placed under administration following a decision from the province’s executive committee, News24 reports.
The JB Marks municipality was formed following a merger of the Tlokwe and Ventersdorp municipalities, which caused protests – one of which saw the Ventersdorp municipal traffic building torched – and was opposed by Ventersdorp residents.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) legally opposed the merger in the high court in Pretoria.
The municipality has been plagued by corruption allegations which saw it undergo a complete shut down at the end of last year, over issues including its failure to deliver on a N14 development project promised to them since 2006.
Before this, it was reported that R45m had been spent on upgrading a sports stadium in the area but only one toilet had been built.
The decision to place JB Marks under administration was taken on May 2 and the mayor’s office was informed of it on May 6.
A letter sent to the JB Marks mayoral office by the North West local government MEC states that “poor administration and governance” are behind the decision to place the municipality under administration for a period of between six months and a year.
The letter says the provincial government “has a legislative mandate to regularly monitor the performance and status of municipalities, provide support, build capacity, and intervene where it is necessary”.
“The department has identified areas in the municipality where there is a need to intervene through other legislative measures as there are evident signs of poor administration and governance in the municipality, which negatively affect service delivery,” it continues.
Minister Zweli Mkhize has placed 13 municipalities under administration since June 2018. Since 2016, 24 municipalities have been placed under administration, according to the department of local government.
In a statement, the JB Marks municipality notes that the province “has identified several areas where it feels the municipality is struggling in relation to service delivery”.
“The purpose of the intervention is to work with the municipality and provide support and build capacity in those areas it has identified,” the statement continues.
“The municipality is responding and providing information to account on all those areas flagged by the province and in which it is thought that it has fallen short. The province will provide a full briefing in this regard to council in the earliest opportune time.”
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)