Mpumalanga’s once-thriving town is swimming in debt as well as indebtedness, which it blames on maladministration and collusion
that the departments had so far paid less than R6 million in rates, taxes and electricity to the municipality.
Overall, the municipality is owed R2.5 billion and Ntshalintshali admitted the municipality itself had also played a part in the mess by failing to collect the funds. This had resulted in a number of businesses refusing to pay disputed bills, citing discrepancies.
She also admitted that corrupt officials had played a huge part. Some were suspected of colluding with property developers to omit new residential developments from the billing system. A number of municipal officials were recently arrested.
Ntshalintshali added that the land that had been put up for sale for R250 million had been zoned for a hotel development and was to be sold to the highest bidder.
The intention, she explained, was that once the deal was signed, the money would go straight to Eskom instead of municipal coffers.
She added that the land had been valued at R180 million in 2013. A recent valuation confirmed the same figure, indicating the possibility that collusion had occurred in undervaluing the land.
Municipality spokesperson Kingdom Mabuza said the identity of the potential buyer could not be revealed but would have been mentioned had the councillors requested so in the council meeting.
City Press has established that the potential buyer is a local consulting company with no track record and a sole director. It was registered just over a month before the municipality approved the sale.