/ 11 July 2024

Underperforming MMCs to face same fate as EFF’s Dunga, says Ekurhuleni mayor

Nkosindiphile Xhakaza
Ekurhuleni mayor Nkosindiphile Xhakaza. (Papi Morake/Gallo Images)

Ekurhuleni metro mayor Nkosindiphile Xhakaza has issued a stern warning to members of the executive mayoral council (MMC), vowing to swiftly remove those who do not meet performance standards, starting next week.  

“We have drafted the performance scorecards, which will be signed by all the members, which is aimed at creating accountability amongst MMCs,” he said.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Xhakaza said the ANC-led coalition government would focus on stabilising the city’s financial position after it received an unqualified report with findings from the Auditor General of South Africa for the period during which Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) financial MMC Nkululeko Dunga was in office.

Xhakaza was elected as mayor unopposed on 11 April and re-appointed Dunga to the finance portfolio. 

He removed Dunga from office last month, citing “misalignments” and said on Wednesday that the decision had been encouraged by the “outcry from opposition parties that called for the axing of Dunga”.

Xhakaza replaced Dunga with Jongizizwe Dlabathi on Tuesday. 

Dlabathi had been critical of Dunga’s actions as the MMC of finance and has accused the EFF leadership of using taxpayers’ money for their personal use.

Speaking at the media briefing on Wednesday, Dlabathi said he would clamp down on fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the metro and improve performance in areas where his predecessor failed.

Service delivery shortfalls in the municipality have been attributed to irregular expenditure of funds. 

“We will deal with the issue of recovering, as well as rebuilding a strong financial position for the city. You will know that, for some time, we have raised concerns over the financial position of the city. We are now at the helm to ensure that we bring about financial sustainability,” he said.

Last year Dlabathi formally requested that the ANC consider ending the coalition with the EFF in a letter to party secretary general Fikile Mbalula that shed light on the challenges and tension which had beset it.

The ANC and EFF are co-governing in Ekurhuleni — as well as in Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay — under a deal in which they have agreed that smaller parties’ councillors ascend to the mayoral positions.

Xhakaza’s warning comes as ANC regional leaders lobby to have the EFF removed from their MMC positions in the province. Last month, the ANC provincial executive committee resolved to terminate its relationship with the EFF in metros.

On Wednesday, Xhakaza said although the regions receive their mandate from the provincial and national leadership, as mayor “elected in council” he has the final say on what should happen in his mayoral council.

He added that the work of the metro will continue with or without the completion of negotiations of the government of provincial unity.

Dunga said he did not expect the city to improve under Xhakaza because the current mayoral council was still addressing problems created by former mayor, Mzwandile Masina.

“The city of Ekurhuleni has been dysfunctional financially under Xhakaza’s watch previously. Now we’re trying to stabilise but the mess they created is still evident. They claim only they can fix it but that’s not true. They’ve consistently shown they can’t,” he said.

“The EFF has been removed for the past month and we have service providers who haven’t been paid for about two to three months. No one is saying anything. It’s been quiet,” Dunga said.