Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen said the South African government was committed to providing services to the people of Jozini, despite reports to the contrary in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Jozini Municipality is currently hung, after the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) failed to secure an outright win during the Local Government Elections. According to the IFP, that municipality has failed to form a government yet, because the other political parties in that region have not secured enough votes to make a material difference to the outcome.
The IFP has indicated that it is prepared to work with the ANC to try and form a government there, but adds that the ANC has done all that it could to stall the process. There is the distinct risk that service delivery in that region will collapse, because of the circumstances that have now presented themselves.
However, Van Rooyen insists that will not happen under his watch. He said there were already provisions in place, that cater for a stalemate of this nature at local government level. The impasse at Jozini also has implications for the formation of a government at the uMkhanyakude District Council. Water and electricity provision are normally mandates of District Councils, and given the water problems experienced in that region, the need to form a government has never been more urgent than it is now.
“Responding to the question raised by the Honourable [Mkhuleko] Hlengwa about Jozini and uMkhanyakude, our noble constitution, section 139, sub section 1 A, B and C provides for executive authority in our given provinces to respond or to intervene in municipalities who are unable to execute executive obligations as stipulated in the constitution,” Van Rooyen told the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Van Rooyen said the provincial government was already intervening at Jozini, adding that measures would be taken, if a suitable solution is not found in that region.
“Now Jozini and uMkhanyakude, as we are speaking, the relevant MEC is currently working together with our back to basics track team to resolve the situation there. But I must indicate House chair, that we are not going to hesitate to give effect to the provisions of the constitution if the situation is not appropriately resolved in the two municipalities.
“I must indicate House Chair, that it is in our interests that service delivery is provided to our people in Jozini and uMkhanyakude,” added the Minister.