FS Cogta MEC fails to meet Scopa

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Free State Legislature lambasted Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Oupa Khoabane,
Weeks after the Scopa in the Free State Legislature lambasted Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Oupa Khoabane, for snubbing meetings to discuss problems at the Fezile Dabi District Municipality, there is still no progress.

The Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) said Khoabane was invited on two occasions to meet with them, but he did not attend. Committee Chairperson, Neels van Rooyen, confirmed to OFM News that the parties are yet to meet. Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) and committee members want Khoabane to come and account about the state of the municipality.

MPLs were refused entrance during an in loco inspection at the municipality and the committee was accusing the municipal manager of hijacking the municipality. During the Free State Local Government Lekgotla – which took place last week Tuesday – Khoabane told OFM News in an interview that despite the financial woes and other issues plaguing municipalities across the province, he is hopeful that the turn-around strategies implemented by his department will be able to salvage the situation. Van Rooyen says he hopes to discuss and set a date for a meeting with Khoabane tomorrow at a Legislature sitting during which Free State Finance MEC, Elzabe Rockman, is set to table her Adjustment Budget.

“I will probably meet with him tomorrow because there is a Legislature sitting and I haven’t met with him to set a date for us to meet,” Van Rooyen explains. Although the committee in the meantime went ahead and tabled the report on the audit outcomes of municipalities in the province, he says these issues were not covered. “We did table a report without Fezile Dabi, so that is how far we got,” says Van Rooyen.

Van Rooyen told OFM News the committee also tried to get the municipality to appear before it, but all meeting requests have been ignored. He has since decided to table the report on the state of municipalities whilst looking for alternative ways to deal with issues at the municipality.

OFM News previously reported that MPL, Kenalemang Phukuntsi, said the committee was considering taking legal action against Khoabane and the Municipality for failing to come and account. Earlier the committee described the municipality’s decision to refuse MPLs access to the municipal premises as a direct obstruction to the functionality of the committee’s constitutional mandate.

Van Rooyen said the Committee was also aware that the municipality is experiencing a very volatile situation in which there is perpetual maladministration which is attributed to the audit outcome in which the municipality received an adverse opinion. Issues such as the non-payment of salaries of employees and councillors also plagued the municipality.

LUCKY NKUYANE / OFM News