Media Statements

Rule by impunity; A culture of mis-governance in the crisis-ridden Sakhisizwe Local Municipality – Civil Society calls on the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to invoke s139 (1) (c) of the Constitution.

MEDIA STATEMENT

On the 29th August 2019, CALUSA lodged an application, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act no 2 of 2000 (PAIA), requesting access to information regarding the state of governance of the Sakhisizwe Local Municipality. The PAIA application followed several letters that have been written to the Municipality since October 2018 without information forthcoming. The Municipality has now failed to respond to the PAIA request within the legislated 30 day timeframe. The Municipality responded to the PAIA request in a letter dated 03 September, wherein they admitted that we, the Sakhisizwe civil society structures, have been requesting information that we are entitled to; they cited the absence of a portfolio head for finance and administration as one of the reasons why the information had not been provided. The response did not however explain how and when the information would be provided. The Municipality’s non-compliance is not limited to failure to provide the information requested – the Municipality does not have a designated information officer nor has it published a PAIA manual, both requirements under PAIA. The documents requested by the structures include;

• Annual, Financial and Audit Reports from 2000 up to 2019

• Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) from 2000 to 2019

• Municipal Tender Records: Inclusive – Minutes of Council meetings and steering Committees, from 2000 – 2019

• By-laws passed from 2000 and records of processes followed

• Spatial Development Framework (SDFs)

• The LUMS [land use management system] regulations or by-law

None of these documents have been made available and we are wondering whether the municipality has these documents. We are also gravely concerned about how the municipality conducts its business with regard to community participation in decision making as prescribed by the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act. This Municipality appears to, at best, pay lip service to public participation. For example, they finalised the Integrated Development Plan without giving civil society and community groups an opportunity to comment on the draft. We further draw attention to the dire lack of service delivery in both towns: Cala and Elliot, as well as the hinterland: communal areas and commercial farms, where a substantial number of citizens reside. The town of Elliot is slowly becoming a ghost town and businesses are closing down. This does not mean that conditions in Cala are any better. The provincial Department of Cooperative Governance intervened in Sakhisizwe and deployed an Acting Municipal Manager but this intervention does not seem to have succeeded as we are under the impression that the Acting Municipal Manager’s term will be ending soon without him having delivered on the mandate he was given. We therefore call on the MEC and Minister to dissolve the Municipal council and place the Municipality under administration until it has been returned to a state of normality. The latter for us entails a municipality that is fully accountable to its constituencies and ensuring that residents are fully involved in decision making and implementation processes. Issued by Civil Society organisations monitoring local government in Sakhisizwe:

1. Afesis – Corplan

2. Border Rural Committee(BRC)

3. Cala University Students Association(CALUSA)

4. Cala Reserve Planning Committee

5. Centre for African Studies – University of Cape Town(CAS – UCT)

6. Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution(CASAC)

7. Corruption Watch 8. Elliot Residence Association

9. Sakhisizwe Youth Council

10. Sakhisizwe Moral Regeneration Movement

11. Siyazakha Land Rights Movement

12. South African National Civic Organisation(SANCO)

13. Stop the Bantustan Bills Campaign & Alliance for Rural Democracy(ARD)

14. Students for Law and Social Justice – University of Fort Hare(SLSJ UFH)

15. Women in Agriculture and Rural Development(WARD)