South Africa
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Cabinet has final say on dissolution of municipalities, says Dlamini Zuma

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma says there were checks and balances to prevent MECs from abusing their powers by dissolving municipalities.

Some of the municipalities have been put under administration because they are in serious financial distress.

However, some parties felt ANC infighting has led to some municipalities being dissolved for political purposes.

The National Assembly committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs in July said it backed a decision by Cabinet to dissolve 45 dysfunctional municipalities across the country.

One of the measures required is that they have to make submissions to the minister of co-operative governance and Cabinet before such a decision is taken.

She explained that in terms of approval requirements of Section 139 of the Constitution, the minister exercises the power assigned to approve or disapprove the intervention invoked by the Provincial Executive Council if the municipality cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation.

“Approvals of interventions are based on sufficient evidence of the failures of the executive obligations by the municipality.

“Approvals are also based on the decision of the Provincial Executive Council to intervene in the affairs of the municipality solely on failures to fulfil any executive obligations by the municipality,” said Dlamini Zuma.

“Section 139(2)(a)(i) of the Constitution provides checks and balances in that ‘If a provincial executive intervenes in terms of subsection (1)(b), it must submit a written notice of the intervention to Cabinet member responsible for local government affairs’.

“In terms of Section 139(2)(b), the intervention must end if the Cabinet member responsible for local government affairs disapprove the intervention within 28 days after the intervention began, or by the end of that period had not approved the intervention.

“Similarly, section 139(3)(a)(i) of the Constitution provides that ‘If a Municipal Council is dissolved in terms of subsection (1)(c), the provincial executive must immediately submit a written notice of the dissolution to the Cabinet member responsible for local government affairs”.

“In terms of Section 139(3)(b) the dissolution takes effect 14 days from the date of receipt of the notice by the Municipal Council unless set aside by the Cabinet member responsible for local government before the expiry of those 14 days.

“These mechanisms are meant to foresee the correct invocation and application of section 139 of the Constitution,” said Dlamini Zuma.