In their effort to reportedly protect the City of Tshwane or any other municipality from “further damage”, the Democratic Alliance has expressed its determination to expose the continuing lies Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile is allegedly spreading in the media.
“His destructive lies are intended to defend the ANC and EFF’s appeal against the landmark scathing high court judgment setting aside his unlawful decision to place the Tshwane Council under administration.
“In ruling for the reinstatement of the council, the judges made it quite clear that its collapse was due to ANC and EFF councillors disrupting and walking out of the meetings,” said the party in a statement prepared by Councillor Randall Williams.
Williams went on to itemise these alleged lies in a numbered list which reads as follows:
1: Irregular expenditure
Irregular expenditure is reported progressively in the annual financial statements. That means that expenditure linked to a contract found to be irregular continues to be reported until the matter is resolved, for example in a court of law or the contract is cancelled.
The closing balance of accumulated irregular expenditure as at 30 June 2019 was R4.5 billion. This still includes irregular expenditure on, for example, the smart meter contract and the fleet management contract entered into by the previous ANC administration.
Given that councillors are barred from interference in the supply chain processes, the executive increased its oversight over the outcome of all awards to identify non-compliance, ex post facto. This proved to be successful and non-compliance during the 2018/19 financial year as well as existing contracts entered into previously, was identified and referred for investigation.
The increased pressure put on the administration resulted in a decrease in legislative non-compliance.
2: Delayed revenue collection
The City did not suffer a R1.9 billion revenue loss during 2019/20. The smart meter replacement project initiated in accordance with the agreed equitable remedy was completed in June 2019.
This resulted in delayed revenue of R1.9 billion which was subsequently addressed by billing arrear consumption, particularly for large power users.
3: Underspending of grants
The underspending of grants as at December 2019 was mainly attributed to the lack of project management capacity, poor contractor performance and project stoppages and disruptions. Comprehensive motivations and the way forward in finalising these projects were submitted to National Treasury, the grant owner, and accepted.
4: Adjustments budget 2019/20
An adjustments budget for 2019/20, based on the mid-year assessment, was prepared and included in the agenda for consideration by council, as required by legislation, in February 2020.
This adjustments budget recognised the potential under-recovery of revenue as well as potential savings on budgeted expenditure. The proposed adjustments budget was a balanced and funded budget for consideration without negatively impacting on service delivery in the City.
It is common knowledge that council collapsed because of the walk-out of ANC and EFF councillors, in contravention of the Code of Conduct for Councillors as contained in the Municipal Systems Act, before the adjustments budget could be considered.
Any unauthorised expenditure as a result of the failure to consider and adopt the adjustments budget will, therefore, be the direct result of the unlawful action of the ANC and EFF representatives in council supported by MEC Maile, the Gauteng Executive and the NCOP.
5: Legal disputes
Maile’s statement rightly refers to irregular contracts such as the broadband and fleet management contracts entered into by the previous administration plunging the City into legal disputes.
It fails to recognise, however, that these contracts were entered into by the previous ANC administration prior to 2016.
The DA-led administration has done extensive work to rid the City of these expensive contracts which were found to be irregular, similar to the PEU Smart Meter contract. This is a necessary and critical step in achieving clean and accountable governance.
6: Service delivery failings in Tshwane
There is no basic service delivery failing in Tshwane.
The provision of electricity, water and sanitation and waste services has been consistent under the DA-led administration. Maile has no evidence to support criticism of any failings in this aspect. He attempted to argue it, but the courts found that the city had upheld its executive obligations to residents.
7: Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework (MTREF) 2020/21
The Lead Administrator and his team have failed to comply to one of the most important responsibilities of a municipality. That is to draft a revised IDP and MTREF for the new financial year. This has not been tabled for purposes of public participation.
Community participation is one of the cornerstones of our Constitution. The approval of a funded budget and revised IDP incorporating the views of stakeholders on applicable service delivery challenges, municipal service charges and property rates, is critical to a municipality’s ability to be sustainable and to fulfil its Constitutional mandate.
Given that contact meetings are still prohibited, community participation must be done using media platforms. No amendment to the timeframe of 30 days legislated for such consultations have been communicated. If the revised IDP and MTREF are to be considered and approved before the start of the new financial year, it leaves very limited time for submissions to be duly considered and the budget and all its annexures to be amended, considered and approved.
“The DA calls on MEC Maile and his head henchman to stop trying to defend the indefensible in support of their application for leave to appeal the landmark scathing High Court judgement setting aside the unlawful Section 139(1)(c) intervention,” concluded the party.