By ROD AMNER
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) declared Makana’s Financial Recovery Plan an order of the court on Thursday, 10 March.
The Makana Residents Association, the Grahamstown Business Forum and the Unemployed People’s Movement said they would vigorously monitor the implementation of the order by the SCA.
The Makana Residents Association (MRA) chairperson Sally Price-Smith was pleased with the ruling, “although it is a failure that we have to use court orders to compel the Makana Municipality to manage properly”.
“Our concern will be ensuring that the Financial Recovery Plan is adhered to and whether senior management will simply do what they are paid for. If measures such as cost containment, organisational change and improved public engagement by Makana municipality are progressed, then MRA looks forward to supporting such developments,” Price-Smith said.
The SCA order does not prevent the Eastern Cape Executive from dissolving the Makana Council, should it decide that such a step becomes necessary.
The court order includes reporting deadlines for the Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Xolile Nqatha.
Bhisho, through his office, must make three-monthly reports to the High Court in Makhanda on the progress of the implementation of the Financial Recovery Plan.
The order also allows the Unemployed People’s Movement within 20 days notice, to apply to the same Court if these reports do not reflect sufficient progress.
The MEC in turn has the same opportunity to approach the court for an order dispensing with the duty to report, if the intervention has achieved the desired outcome or if this is unable to be achieved.
The Financial Recovery Plan
The Financial Recovery Plan is a legacy from the period that Makana was placed under Administration in 2014, which largely failed to achieve the desired turnaround for our City.
In a recent open letter to citizens, Makana Residents Association secretary Tim Bull, said, “Most of the water outages, electricity blackouts, uncut grass, stray animals, lack of law enforcement, no meter reading and all the other Makana failures are because Makana has not implemented the Financial Recovery Plan satisfactorily.”
“Behind all these issues lies a lack of governance and financial management.”
The Financial Recovery Plan was first adopted by the Makana Council in March 2015. A new draft financial recovery plan was tabled in March 2021 based on the 2019/20 Makana recovery plan, the comments of the Auditor-General and the situational analysis provided by the Provincial Treasury in February 2021.
The plan is aligned to the four pillars used by the National Treasury to assess municipal sustainability: governance, institutional stability, financial health and service delivery.
It addresses the current financial distress by focusing on improving the short-term financial liquidity of the municipality and by improving the long-term financial stabilisation and sustainability of the municipality.