The DA has filed a Promotion of Access to Information (PAIA) application at the Department of Cooperative Governance for all documents that informed the decision that Vuwani will in the interim receive basic services from Vhembe District Municipality, instead of the LIM 345 local municipality.
We support all efforts to bring services to Vuwani, but it appears that Minister Des van Rooyen and President Jacob Zuma have circumvented the law and the constitution in making this decision.
The decision was taken after President Jacob Zuma , Vha Venda King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana and other stakeholders held multilateral engagements to ease the increased tension in the area. President Zuma then refused to address the residents of Vuwani, as he dodged accountability.
However, in terms of Schedule 4 A and 5 B of the Constitution and the roles and responsibilities of the three spheres of government, Minister van Rooyen cannot simply make an announcement that basic services to Vuwani will now be delivered by Vhembe District. This would require a stringent due process, and would necessitate major redesign of Vhembe District’s capacity and a very large injection of money.
Not only did Minister van Rooyen disregard The Constitution by being a law unto himself in making this announcemnet, his unprocedural actions may spark future violence and prolong the shutdown and instability in the area, because Vhembe is not ready to start delivering on his unlawful promise.
If a local municipality is incapable of delivering basic services, the only constitutional option is for the provincial executive to intervene by placing LIM 345 under a Section 139(2) administration or a Section 154 intervention requesting provincial or national assistance.
Vhembe District municipality received a disclaimer from the Auditor General in the previous financial year for maladministration, mismanagement and almost half a billion rand in irregular, fruitless and wasteful and unauthorised expenditure and we are concerned that the added responsibilities will compound the financial irregularities.
We urge the department to provide the documents that informed this decision and ensure that the Constitution and other regulations are respected before decisions are imposed on the residents of Vuwani without following due process.