Four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on the brink of col­lapse

Afro Voice (Free State) - - NEWS - MICHAEL TLHAKUDI news@the­

FOUR mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Free State are on the brink of col­lapse, Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Des van Rooyen has said.

Van Rooyen said the depart­ment would en­sure that the four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were not ren­dered dys­func­tional.

He said a num­ber of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Free State were fac­ing se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial chal­lenges be­cause of a lack of gov­er­nance and ad­min­is­tra­tive ca­pac­ity.

The min­is­ter was speak­ing at the Pres­i­dent Ho­tel in Bloem­fontein af­ter meet­ing with of­fi­cials to as­sess the state of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

The Ma­luti-a-Pho­fung, Ma­fube, Matjhabeng and Masilonyana mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were a point of dis­cus­sion as they face se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial chal­lenges.

He said the prob­lem in the four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties was that they did not have a strong rev­enue base.

“The fi­nan­cial chal­lenges that are en­coun­tered by th­ese mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to a large ex­tent has led to a sit­u­a­tion where some of th­ese mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are un­able to pay the salaries and cred­i­tors,” Van Rooyen said.

He said va­can­cies in se­nior man­age­ment was the other prob­lem that fu­elled the chal­lenges.

He said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties like Ma­fube were fac­ing deeper chal­lenges be­cause it did not have a solid eco­nomic base from which it could ex­pect gen­er­a­tion of solid rev­enue

He said his depart­ment would on a quar­terly ba­sis mon­i­tor the progress made by the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Van Rooyen said the depart­ment was go­ing to de­velop a re­cov­ery plan to make sure that the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties sus­tained them­selves.

He said the four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were strug­gling to make ends meet eco­nom­i­cally.

“At present, sev­eral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are strug­gling to op­er­ate and main­tain their ser­vice in­fra­struc­ture in a cost­ef­fec­tive and sus­tain­able man­ner and this is a se­ri­ous prob­lem that we need to deal with ex­ten­sively.”

He said they had since re­alised that the is­sue of lead­er­ship also played a crit­i­cal role in ac­cel­er­at­ing the problems faced.

He said the South African Lo­cal Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion would also form part of dis­cus­sions.

On the is­sue of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ow­ing Eskom mil­lions of rand, Van Rooyen said they were work­ing around the clock to come up with so­lu­tions.

He said it would be im­por­tant for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to be proac­tive and ad­just the pric­ing mod­els for dis­tri­bu­tion of en­ergy to their con­sumers within their li­censed area.

“A large cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in power util­i­ties by mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties needs to be looked af­ter through proper main­te­nance and care taken of th­ese in­stal­la­tions.”

The other prob­lem that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties en­counter is the high in­ter­est fee the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are pay­ing to Eskom and un­paid rates by the com­mu­ni­ties.

“The mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties pay 50% of the ac­tual fee, the other 50% is for in­ter­est charged by Eskom and that has caused the bill to be so high.”


CHAL­LENGES: Co­op­er­ate Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Des van Rooyen and MEC Sisi Ntombela at­tended a ses­sion to as­sess state of pri­or­ity mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties at the Pres­i­dent Ho­tel in Bloem­fontein.

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