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Acting North West premier highlights challenges of reversing governance collapse

Acting North West premier highlights challenges of reversing governance collapse
Illustrative image | North West Premier Bushy Maape. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach) | Acting North West premier Nono Maloyi. (Photo: Supplied) | SA Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

Acting North West premier Nono Maloyi said the national government’s Section 100 intervention led to improved audit outcomes and more stability. But municipalities in the province remain in crisis.

Nearly two years following the withdrawal of the national government’s Section 100 intervention in North West, acting premier Nono Maloyi says not enough progress has been made to reverse the extent of governance collapse in the province’s municipalities.

Under the Constitution, a Section 1oo intervention occurs when provinces are unable to meet their obligations and are in financial distress. In 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the national government to take control of all provincial departments in North West. The intervention was subsequently withdrawn in March 2022. 

At the time of the intervention, the provincial government was in a state of total collapse. Little has changed.

Read more in Daily Maverick: North West: The pathology of a corrupt province

“The benefit of national government intervention is demonstrated by continued upward trajectory in improved audit outcomes, improved labour relations environment and general stability in the province,” Maloyi said while delivering the 2024 State of the Province Address (Sopa) on Tuesday, 20 February, at the provincial legislature in Mahikeng.

Maloyi, who is the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, said that in the year following the intervention, audit outcomes of public entities had improved from seven unqualified opinions in the previous financial year to eight. 

Section 100 interventions target provincial governments, but Maloyi focused much of his Sopa on troubles in the province’s municipalities.

In the 2021/22 financial year, the Auditor-General found that not a single municipality in North West had received a clean audit in the past five years. Instead, many municipalities had received repeated disclaimer audit opinions.

“Honourable Speaker, the audit outcomes of municipalities reflect a mixed picture of progress and stagnation, with only three municipalities receiving unqualified opinions,” Maloyi said.

To support the ailing municipalities, the province is helping to improve financial management by implementing and monitoring financial recovery plans.

One of the most problematic municipalities in the province is Ditsobotla, infamous for warring ANC factions that led to two mayors, two speakers and two municipal managers for most of 2022. 

In May 2023, Daily Maverick reported that it was in such a state of collapse that it could not pay salaries or buy a roll of toilet paper. Maloyi singled the municipality out, saying progress was at a snail’s pace. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ramaphosa briefed about ANC councillors carrying knives, stabbing each other at ailing Ditsobotla municipality 

“The Ditsobotla Local Municipality requires constant and sustained support and intervention from the provincial government before full recovery can be declared. [The provincial executive committee] has deployed a team of experts and other seconded officials to the municipality to assist with capacity,” he said. 

In addition to the financial recovery plans, the province has rolled out skills and qualification audits in all municipalities. So far, a total of 5,487 employees have been audited in Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality and the Tswaing and Ratlou local municipalities.  

“We will in due course complete the remaining municipalities. We have instituted a sustainable implementation of a turnaround strategy in all the 22 municipalities in the province through the District Development Model.  

“We now have an early-warning system in the form of an electronic dashboard that will monitor municipal performance and reporting. The Thuntsha-Lerole mobile app has now gone live, providing an interactive communication platform to connect government with the people to report service delivery challenges in real time in their localities.” 

Leadership battle 

Maloyi was sworn into office on Sunday, 18 February 2024, amid Premier Bushy Maape’s lengthy absence owing to an illness and calls for his removal from the position as a result. 

Maloyi, who is the chairperson of the ANC in North West, made an impassioned plea to members of the public to respect the privacy of the premier.

“We wish to caution and plead with the public and parties represented in this legislature to appreciate the balance between the complexity of holding the premier accountable and respecting his human dignity and privacy of his health information.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: New North West ANC chair Nono Maloyi aims for ‘clean-up process’ to rebuild branches

Maloyi’s 30-page Sopa was themed, “Following up on our commitments, making your future work better”. 

He used the speech to highlight the sixth administration’s achievements and admit to ongoing challenges, including the provision of drinkable water, a high unemployment rate and sluggish economy.   

Four takeaways from Maloyi’s Sopa 

1. Economy and job creation 

Although the province is endowed with vast mineral deposits, Maloyi said it continued to be inundated by high levels of poverty and unemployment.

“Economic growth remains sluggish and this has had an adverse impact on our efforts to create jobs for our people. [The] unemployment rate in the North West gives us sleepless nights, particularly because it affects mainly women and the youth. However, there are encouraging signs of recovery in our province.”

A total of 69,528 Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) work opportunities were created between 2019 and October 2023 benefiting women, youth and people with disabilities. In 2024, an additional 15,000 EPWP work opportunities would be created, Moloyi said.

He lauded the North West Brics Investment Conference, which was held during the 2023 Brics Summit, and the premier’s dinner with investors held in September 2023 at Sun City. Both initiatives yielded 34 investment pledges with a total value topping R104.1-billion. 

In addition, Maloyi said 14 confirmed investment projects worth R13.5-billion were in the pipeline for the Bojanala Special Economic Zone. These investments would create an additional 10,000 jobs, he said. 

2. Load shedding

“In an effort to end load shedding we have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese National Import and Export Corporation to construct R16-billion gas-to-electricity power stations at both the City of Matlosana and Moses Kotane Local Municipality, respectively,” the acting premier said.

“The first phase of this project will see Matlosana producing 198MW of electricity, and construction is earmarked for a maximum of 90 days per 100MW.”

3. Roads infrastructure 

Maloyi announced that in the current financial year 25 maintenance projects across the province’s four districts would be implemented as part of the Routine Road Maintenance strategy, with a budget of R256-million.  

“As part of addressing road infrastructure backlogs, 12 roads have been transferred to Sanral for construction. This includes portions of roads on the N18 from Mahikeng to Vryburg and R30 that will cover Klerksdorp to Ventersdorp as well as Orkney. The remainder of these projects will be spread across Bojanala-Platinum, Ngaka Modiri Molema, and Dr Kenneth Kaunda Districts.”  

Maloyi added that potholes along more than 320km of roads across the province would be resealed, creating 429 job opportunities.  

5. Water projects  

Maloyi announced several water infrastructure projects, which were due to be completed in the 2024/25 financial year. These include:

  • The 25 megalitre Tlhabane reservoir, which he said was 99% complete;
  • The construction of a R36-million bulk water sewer pipeline at Agisanang township in the Tswaing Local Municipality, due for completion this year;
  • The Brits Water Treatment Plant, which is to be completed by May this year. It will supply an additional 20 megalitres, ensuring the provision of water in the communities of Oukasie, Mothotlung, Damonsville, Mmakau, Brits, Elandsrand, Letlhabile and Sonop; and
  • Resuscitating the Kraaipan Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant back to functionality at a cost of R8.5-million to ensure sustainable water provision in parts of the Ratlou Local Municipality. DM

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