Cape Town, Parliament, 12 July 2020 – Yesterday, the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs resolved that all the office bearers that include the Executive Mayor, Deputy Executive Mayor, Speaker, Municipal Manager, Chief Whip and MPAC Chairperson in the OR Tambo District Municipality to submit written responses to questions by the committee around Covid-19 response plan in the municipality.
After three and a half hours long evening meeting without obtaining answers on serious and worrying questions on governance and procurement challenges the municipality is facing, the committee decided to give the office bearers until Tuesday 14, July 2020, to submit written submissions to the committee in response to questions and those submissions must be accompanied by evidence to enable the committee to make informed decisions.
“The committee felt that written responses will give members a holistic view on the problems faced by the municipality,” said Ms Faith Muthambi, the Chairperson of the committee.
The committee raised concerns over the lack of accountability that is historical in the district municipality. The committee made reference to the recently released 2018/19 audit report that reflects OR Tambo District Municipality to have spent about R1.4 billion in irregular expenditure for the 2018/19 financial.
Furthermore, the committee expressed a concern over the R4.8 million door-to-door tender, as the OR Tambo District residents refute that such a campaign was undertaken, and the lack of answers regarding the pre-payment of money for the provision of bulk water services while no work was done.
The committee also asked questions on the process followed by the council to place the Municipal Manager under suspension. Questions on the suspension of the Municipal Manager that are addressed to the Speaker include all the details that includes the appointment of the current Acting Municipal Manager.
The committee told the OR Tambo Mayor and her delegation that at the centre of its commitment is to ensure that the financial resources that were appropriated for the fight against Covid-19 in the OR Tambo District are used for the intended purpose.
The committee has committed to visit the municipality in the earliest available time to visit the projects under question to ascertain the veracity of the information provided. The committee will also invite law enforcement agencies to present a progress report on the investigations into the municipality.