Con­cerned group makes re­quest to provin­cial head

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

AGROUP of con­cerned cit­i­zens and busi­nesses in Grahamstown has ap­pealed to prov­ince to in­ter­vene in the fi­nan­cially ail­ing Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity by plac­ing it un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion and pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial and drought re­lief.

The ur­gent re­quest fol­lows a de­mand to Makana two weeks ago that it vol­un­tar­ily sub­mit to ad­min­is­tra­tion within seven days, list­ing a litany of in­debt­ed­ness and lack of re­sources, as well as the al­leged un­con­sti­tu­tional use of elec­tric­ity in­come to pay salaries and ser­vice debt – in­stead of pay­ing Eskom.

The dead­line passed and the Con­cerned Cit­i­zens Com­mit­tee to Save Makana sub­se­quently sent their ap­peal to the East­ern Cape MEC for Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (Cogta), Fik­ile Xasa, as well as the min­is­ters of fi­nance and Cogta and Na­tional Trea­sury.

The let­ter was signed by Con­cerned Cit­i­zens Com­mit­tee chair­man Ron Weis­senberg, who said: “Although the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has re­quested an ex­ten­sion of time to deal with this mat­ter, they have had some years, in­clud­ing sev­eral un­suc­cess­ful and in­con­clu­sive ini­tia­tives to rec­tify the dire sit­u­a­tion. We are of the view that the mat­ter is crit­i­cal and ex­tremely ur­gent.”

Among the prob­lems listed in the orig­i­nal let­ter were that mu­nic­i­pal­ity owes cred­i­tors R146 184 978, and is it­self owed R366812 651 in un­paid ar­rears. Its debt to Eskom stands at R55050 503 and Eskom had al­ready in­di­cated a pos­si­ble shut­down or dis­rup­tions to sup­ply. This in

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity owes cred­i­tors R146184 978, and is it­self owed R366 812 651

turn would af­fect the wa­ter sup­ply in the midst of a drought, Weis­senberg said.

Just as it gave an ul­ti­ma­tum to Makana, the Con­cerned Cit­i­zens Com­mit­tee has now given an ul­ti­ma­tum to East­ern Cape Cogta to place Makana un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion in terms of Sec­tion 139(5) of the con­sti­tu­tion and as­sist with emer­gency fund­ing for drought and fi­nan­cial re­lief in the amount of R47-mil­lion. Weis­senberg said if prov­ince did not do so within 14 days of re­ceiv­ing the let­ter, the or­gan­i­sa­tions which make up the Con­cerned Cit­i­zens group – the Grahamstown Busi­ness Fo­rum, Grahamstown Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion and Makana Unity League – re­served the right to take the mat­ter to the High Court.

TotT sent queries to East­ern Cape Cogta, the na­tional Cogta min­istry and fi­nance min­istry on Mon­day. None have re­sponded. Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has still not re­sponded to TotT’s ques­tions.

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