South Africa’s Tshwane municipality placed under administration

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Tshwane municipality, which houses the capital Pretoria, was on Thursday placed under administration by the provincial government, citing mismanagement and irregular expenditure.

The municipality has in recent months been plagued by service delivery protests and political fights as the African National Congress (ANC) party and the ultra left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) look to stop the main opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) from leading the municipality.

A DA-led coalition won the mayoral seat in highly contested 2016 local government elections that saw the ANC lose control of the municipality. Two mayors have resigned since the DA-led coalition took charge, with the latest resignation happening last week.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura, speaking after the parties failed to agree a new mayor and how to best manage the municipality, said that its council had been dissolved and fresh elections would be held in 90 days.

Makhura said the local government’s decision also follows unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure flagged by the auditor general, and flagrant disregard of the procurement process, “which has eroded good governance in the city.”

“At the same time, …the city is facing serious challenges given its current inability to pay all its creditors and the serious problems it is experiencing in terms of revenue collection,” he told journalists.

Makhura said an administrator will be announced in seven days to run the city. Pretoria contributes about 25% to the economy of the province, which also includes Johannesburg.