PREMIER Noxolo Kiviet is at loggerheads with her local government MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, over plans to take over Mnquma Municipality.
Local government department head Stanley Khanyile announced last week the department had started the process of taking over the running of the council.
He announced this after visiting the Butterworth-based municipality to explain their plans.
But Kiviet’s office immediately issued a statement saying this was done without consulting her executive council.
In terms of the law, Kiviet’s cabinet was supposed to have been informed of the plans and considered submissions from the council before approving a takeover.
In her statement the premier distanced her cabinet from the claims by Khanyile, reported in the Saturday Dispatch, that the planned takeover was communicated to her executive.
Khanyile told a council meeting in Mnquma last Thursday of his department’s decision to invoke the Constitution’s section 139 (1) (B), an intervention he described as a partial takeover.
In an interview later, Khanyile said the takeover plans had been presented to a cabinet meeting the previous day (last Wednesday).
“I went there on the heels of this matter having been considered by cabinet yesterday, so the MEC then gave me a full mandate to go and tell Mnquma council about our plans and this is what I did during my visit there.”
Asked to elaborate on the cabinet meeting, Khanyile said at the time, “well, cabinet met yesterday where our MEC reported on the matter saying that there is a need to employ this section in Mnquma. “We will obviously have to follow legal processes, that was just a report, what then needs to happen is that we need to give them [Mnquma council]
our intention to invoke this section, which is what I did today.
“We will then give them three working days to respond and once they have responded, we will submit a further report to cabinet and it will be then that they will finally approve the invoking of this section or not.
“So another report will go back to cabinet once we have received their submissions sometime next week,” Khanyile said last week.
Kiviet disputed this saying the matter was not discussed by cabinet.
Government spokesman Manelisi Wolela said the reports were “incorrect and mischievous”. “No submission was made to the executive council regarding the matter of Mnquma municipality,” said Wolela. Qoboshiyane’s spokesman Mvusi Sicwetsha said the confusion was caused by miscommunication between the MEC and Khanyile.
“From our side, the intention was to alert the cabinet about the section 139 intent but owing to unforeseen circumstances, the MEC had to leave the meeting and attend to other pressing matters before the cabinet meeting was concluded and before he had presented the matter.
“A cabinet memo is en route to the state house on this issue, hoping the premier’s office will receive it for processing.
“There was some miscommunication whereby the MEC did not tell the SG that he had not presented the matter in cabinet, so I think this is where the confusion lies,” Sicwetsha said.