MEC Anton Bredell on intention to consider interventions in Knysna Municipality

17 April 2024 | SANews


Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning confirmed that he wrote to the Knysna Executive Mayor, Councillor Aubrey Tsengwa, and Speaker, Councillor Mncedisi Skosana, informing them that he is considering making a recommendation to Premier Alan Winde and the Western Cape Cabinet that they intervene in the Knysna Municipality in terms of section 139(1)(a) of the Constitution. 

Section 139(1)(a) – (c) of the Constitution states that:
“When a municipality cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the relevant provincial executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfilment of that obligation, including –
(a)    issuing a directive to the Municipal Council, describing the extent of the failure to fulfil its obligations, and stating any steps required to meet its obligations.”

In the letter, Minister Bredell said that when considering the evidence before him, there are reasonable grounds to believe that Knysna Municipality cannot, or is not, fulfilling certain executive obligations in terms of the Constitution or other legislation and has not taken reasonable measures to address these challenges.

Minister Bredell said the municipality’s inability to manage wastewater and solid waste services is causing the degradation and pollution of the environment. “Not only is the municipality not compliant with its obligations in terms of the Constitution, but it is also transgressing in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA).”

“The current state of pollution within the Bigai River and the Knysna Estuary, as well as the inadequate sewerage infrastructure and lack of maintenance, is not only causing significant pollution of the environment but may also impact negatively on the health and well-being of the public and the residents residing along Bigai River and the affected areas within the Knysna Estuary.”

The letter has been issued following extensive engagements between the provincial government to support the municipality to enable them to fulfill their functions and responsibilities.

Minister Bredell said the letter is intended to afford the Municipality, together with the Municipal Council, an opportunity to consider his assessment of the current situation in Knysna in relation to its executive obligations, and then to respond on why the proposed intervention should not be initiated in line with section 139(1)(a) of the Constitution.


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