OUTA hopes new mayor will turn Emfuleni around
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) welcomes Reverend Gift Moerane as the new mayor in Emfuleni and hopes this is the start of a new era for the municipality.
“We look forward to engaging with Reverend Moerane,” says Michael Holenstein, OUTA’s Manager for Local Government.
“We hope he will prioritise the municipality’s financial recovery and that this will be the start of a new community-centred era with efficient service delivery for Emfuleni.”
The ANC put forward Reverend Moerane as the mayoral candidate although he was not a member of the Emfuleni council so had to be sworn in as both councillor and mayor, replacing Jacob Khawe.
“We are concerned about the parachuting in of a new mayor but hope that the local community was consulted and that this is an indication that the ANC is cleaning up Emfuleni,” says Holenstein.
Khawe’s departure was announced in mid-December. Despite his verbal resignation, there was no written resignation, so he continued to hold the position. It’s understood that his written resignation has since been handed to the Speaker and became effective today.
Khawe’s resignation followed a controversial few months of simultaneously being mayor and holding the position of Gauteng provincial secretary of the ANC, which is also a full-time position. The Municipal Systems Act prohibits a full-time councillor from undertaking any other paid work except with the consent of the municipal council; OUTA asked Emfuleni for confirmation of this consent but received no response. OUTA also raised queries about the conflict of interest with these two positions.
“We were relieved when Jacob Khawe finally resigned, after apparently illegitimately retaining his position despite his appointment as the Gauteng ANC secretary. We hope Mayor Moerane will look into this matter and recover the salary he received from Emfuleni after his July appointment,” says Holenstein.
Emfuleni has been mired in problems of collapsed services, much of this arising from maladministration and corruption, and OUTA campaigned for the Gauteng government to intervene in terms of the Constitution and Municipal Financial Management Act.
Gauteng intervened and a financial recovery plan was drafted by the National Treasury last year, which is still to be implemented.