The National Council of Provinces has approved the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Section 100 Intervention in the North West Province on Wednesday.
Eight provinces voted in favour of the report and the Western Cape against. The report was brought before the House for final approval. It stems from a follow-up visit to the province in March this year to measure progress on the intervention. The report came under scrutiny during the debate in the an NCOP virtual sitting.
The intervention into the North West dates back to 2018, when government invoked Section 100 of the constitution, to place certain provincial departments under administration.
This was sparked by allegations of rampant corruption and lack of service delivery, which saw violence during protest action. When he tabled the report to the House, Ad Hoc Committee chairperson, China Dodovu also reflected on the corruption cases.
“Slow progress is being registered we (the Ad Hoc Committee) note,- by the law enforcement agencies in investigating, prosecuting and arresting persons who have allegedly been involved in acts of corruption. The NPA, was dealing with 51 cases regarding the section 100 intervention. Thirteen of these cases are already in court. Six are awaiting the NPA decisions. Seventeen still under investigation, fifteen have been finalised and only two cases were being enrolled.”
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says intergovernmental co-operation is critical to improving service delivery at local government level in the North West.
She was part of government’s inter-ministerial task team that initially investigated the problems in North West Departments in 2018 before they were placed under administration.
“Honourable members since our people largely experienced governance services at a local level, it’s clear that we must assist the provincial government to pay more attention to local government so that our people can experience better service delivery. Consequently, we have recorded progress with regards to at least stabilising the administrative leadership at a provincial sphere we working with the MEC and the Provincial government because it is important and paramount to have the three spheres of government as the (as Hoc Committee) chairperson has been saying, working together to improve cases of service delivery.”
The Democratic Alliance and the Freedom Front-Plus are opposed to the report. They do not agree with some of the recommendations.
During the the debate, DA member of the NCOP, Mbulelo Sileku said there are still no improvements of service delivery in the North West.
“There was clear tension of executive and administrators was clear from Day One. Some Departments still need to appoint senior staff members. There are clinics that are ready to be used but can’t be used due to the threat of gangsterism. While some Departments have shown some improvement in some audit outcomes — the provincial department of Heath has not improved while the Department of Human Settlements got a disclaimer. Honourable chair it is evident that the improved audit outcome in the North West province does not necessarily measure service delivery improvements.”
The Freedom Front Plus says while most violent service delivery protest stopped when the former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo stepped down in 2018, the interventions in the province have not yielded any positive results.
Freedom Front Plus member of the NCOP, Stephanus Du Toit says the interventions have cost the taxpayer millions of rand.
“The Section 139 intervention in municipalities for the period September 2018 to December 2019 cost the province 35-million rand. And the cost up to today has not yet been determined. In February 2021, the National Treasury reported that the cost of the Section 100 intervention in the North West province amounted to a staggering 70-point-1 million rand million rand. Chair the intervention came at a cost to the country. The problems are persisting in the Provincial. Not all the important vacant positions have been filled since 2015. Underspending in some departments are still taking place. When MECs were questioned about it — the MEC said the less you spend the less irregularities in the budget. How absurd?”
Economic Freedom Fighters member of the NCOP, Sam Zandamela says those who were involved in allegations of corruption, have not yet been prosecuted.
“On note it is for the first time in the history of interventions since 1994 where the National executive were to intervene in such a large scale of about ten provincial departments. This confirms the extent the organised corruption that was orchestrated by the ANC government in the North West Province. Nothing has been achieved by these interventions as the perpetrators are still out there and not in jail. Previous interventions were in few departments. In the case of the North West, it demonstrated that not only intervention was needed but a complete take over by the National Government.”
The African National Congress’s Yunus Carrim says the NCOP should also take responsibility if provinces fail to function or when they are placed under administration by National Government.
One of the recommendations in the report is for the NCOP to play a more effective oversight role to prevent provinces from deteriorating or being placed under administration in the first place. Carrim says the system needs to work better.
“If the National Government has to intervene on a province it also reflects on the failure of the NCOP to effectively fulfil our oversight, as our colleagues from the opposition parties should also urgently note. We are not a federal state. We are a unitary state with provinces that have constitutionally enshrined powers and functions. So, if a province fails, it reflects on the failure of other two spheres to play their roles effectively. And not only the national government must take some measure of responsibility for the failure of a province to function. So too, must the national legislature (take responsibility) and in particular the NCOP.”
NCOP chairperson, Amos Masondo read the results of the vote…
“Western Cape is against. Now that voting has been done the results are as follows: Eight provinces voted in favour. I therefore declare the report adopted in accordance with Section 65 of the Constitution.”
VIDEO: Earlier this month, law enforcement agencies, briefed the NCOP on cases related to S100 intervention in North West:
VIDEO: Feedback session on the state of municipalities in North West: