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Putting Tshwane under administration again ‘not likely’ as city reels from adverse audit and mayor’s resignation

Putting Tshwane under administration again ‘not likely’ as city reels from adverse audit and mayor’s resignation
From left: Former Tshwane chief financial officer Umar Banda. (Photo: Twitter) | City of Tshwane logo. (Image: Wikipedia) | Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams. (Photo: Gallo Images / Deaan Vivier)

Gauteng’s cooperative governance department has promised ‘detailed feedback’ on the Auditor-General’s report, but not before it has consulted with the A-G's office. The city’s mounting woes have raised the question of whether the department will place it under administration, as it did in 2020.

The City of Tshwane continues to reel under the fallout from mayor Randall Williams’s resignation and the alarming audit report on its finances, but a legal expert says it is unlikely to be placed under administration again. 

The Gauteng department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) will soon meet Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke regarding her adverse report which revealed massive financial mismanagement of funds including irregular expenditure of R10.4-billion and unauthorised spending of more than R600-million, among many other financial red flags.

government lost r12bn

Auditor-general Tsakani Maluleke. (Photo: Flickr / GCIS)

The report was tabled at a Tshwane council meeting on 26 January 2023, a few months after it had been leaked.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Parties play blame game as Tshwane’s finances burn

On 13 February 2023 – the day mayor Williams quit – cooperative governance MEC Mzi Khumalo’s spokesperson, Kgapa Mabusela, said: “The MEC will provide detailed feedback on the outcomes of the Auditor-General’s report on the City of Tshwane after consultation with her.”

Mabusela’s statement adds that “the collapse of financial management under Executive Mayor Randall Williams, coupled with the persistent governance challenges that plague the City of Tshwane, has rendered the Municipality incapable of discharging its constitutional mandate and responsibility. We have noted the adverse findings on the unauthorised, wasteful and fruitless expenditure while communities face service delivery challenges. We urge the City of Tshwane to improve service delivery for the benefit of communities.”

Noting Williams’s resignation, it said: “MEC Khumalo is of the view that the expeditious election of the new Executive Mayor and the subsequent appointment of members of the mayoral committee is crucial so that the new executive can, among other matters, attend to the Auditor-General’s recent adverse findings regarding finances in the City of Tshwane.”

In 2020, the City of Tshwane was put under administration by Cogta, with incapacity to deliver on its constitutional mandate to residents cited as one of the reasons. 

Read more in Daily Maverick:Tshwane placed under administration, election in 90 days

But legal expert Jaap de Visser said that scenario was unlikely to be repeated. 

“An intervention by Cogta should not be on the cards. None of the ‘triggers’ for a section 139 intervention are prevalent at this time. It would only be different when there is a protracted failure of the council to meet and elect a new Executive Mayor. The municipality’s internal systems to elect a replacement must first kick in,” said De Visser when asked about the possibility of the City of Tshwane being put under administration again.

“The previous intervention by Cogta into Tshwane was struck down by the Constitutional Court because it was wildly premature. An intervention that amounts to any form of ‘takeover’ would not work.”

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Williams resigned on Monday, February 13 “with immediate effect”, after informing council speaker Dr Murunwa Makwarela in writing. In an audio media statement released by the City on 13 February 2022, Williams says: “I do not want the political instability that has taken place in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to spill over into Tshwane. I resign today because I believe it is in the best interest for continued stability of the coalition in the city. I resign today not in frustration, resentment or anger, but in peace.” 

However, speculation is that he had to quit due to the Auditor-General’s negative report. 

“Randall Williams as the captain of the ship has failed to play his executive oversight role and his negligence and incompetence [have] plunged the city into bankruptcy. We’ve already called for his resignation and that he be criminally charged for the money that the city can’t account for,” said Tshwane ANC chairperson George Matjila. This was after Daily Maverick had asked him whether Williams was personally involved in the mismanagement of the city’s funds or whether it was mere lack of oversight on his part. 

But later Williams wrote to Makwarela again, saying he would resign effectively from 28 February. This raised the ire of the opposition parties in the council, including the ANC and EFF which want the resignation to be effective from 13 February. Makwarela has said he recognised the resignation as being effective from 28 February.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 

Tshwane mayor Randall Williams steps down, thus avoiding another motion of no confidence

Eskom seeks help to make Tshwane ‘do right by its residents’ and pay R1.4bn debt

Williams is the second person to lose their position in the City of Tshwane in the wake of the Auditor-General’s report. The first was chief financial officer Umar Banda, whose contract was terminated with effect from 31 December 2022, ironically by Williams himself. This came after Williams placed much of the blame on the CFO for the financial mess that the City found itself in. 

ANC Tshwane caucus leader Joel Masilela believes the termination of Banda’s contract is illegitimate and he must therefore be reinstated. “If there is any intention to suspend or terminate the services of city managers, including the CFO, that intention must first be sanctioned by council for it to be legitimate. Whatever punitive measures are taken against managers, such decisions must be that of the council and not any individual unilaterally. The mayor doesn’t have powers to sanction managers,” said Masilela in a message sent to Daily Maverick on Sunday. 

The ANC caucus, he added, would work tirelessly to make sure the termination of Banda’s contract was overturned with immediate effect.

Following Williams’s resignation, DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga said on 13 February 2023: “The fact that he (Williams) is willing to stand down in order to ensure stability in the metro speaks volumes of his commitment to the residents as well as the political process in the City of Tshwane.”

Attempts to obtain comment from parties including COPE and ActionSA, who with the DA are members of the ruling coalition government in Tshwane, were not forthcoming at the time of publication. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Eberhard Knapp says:

    How can any Executive Mayor effectively work / manage his team – if he is not allowed to sanction members of his team – including sacking them? That’s pure nonsense.
    And if an AG-Report reveals “massive financial mismanagement of funds including irregular expenditure of R10.4-billion and unauthorised spending of more than R600-million” – who else is to take the blame if not the CFO??

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