Section 139 interventions sometimes used to settle political scores, NCOP hears

Section 139 of the Constitution permits a provincial executive to intervene in the affairs of a struggling municipality.

FILE: Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN – Interventions at dysfunctional municipalities are being poorly implemented and in some instances only add to their problems.

Government-led efforts to help such municipalities, known as a Section 139 intervention, are implemented when local governments are already in a state of collapse.

These are some of the findings presented to MPs as the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) marks local government week.

Section 139 of the Constitution permits a provincial executive to intervene in the affairs of a struggling municipality.

During the last financial year, 46 councils were subjected to this intervention.

But Mahlatse Rampedi of the Public Affairs Research Institute has told MPs that they are not always implemented correctly.

“We find that most of these interventions come into place when the municipalities are in a complete state of collapse for extended periods of time and various problems had persisted after this time and the evidence is overwhelming.”

Chairperson of the NCOP’s Cooperative Governance committee, China Dodovu, said that people sometimes used Section 139 to settle political scores.

“These interventions are used to settle political scores, when there are factional battles, when there are issues and tensions.”

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