Residents oppose merger
DA Chris Hani district constituency leader Celeste Barker has submitted copies of petitions containing signatures of over 3 000 people showing their opposition to the amalgamation of the Lukhanji, Inkwanca and Tsolwana municipalities to the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB).
In a report on page 1 today it is told of the chaos that erupted at an MDB meeting when the proposed amalgamation was to be discussed following an instruction by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan to combine the municipalities into one District Management Area.
In a press statement on Monday, Barker said the DA was objecting to the amalgamation of the three municipalities. One of the main reasons was the municipal debt to Eskom.
“On March 31, the total arrears for municipalities of the Eastern Cape (to Eskom) stood at R228 million, the trend for overdue municipal debt is for it to double after winter. Hence by the end of September-early October 2015 the total arrears of municipalities in the Eastern Cape is likely to be approximately R456 million.”
Barker said the debt total was ageing because of non payment by municipalities, with about 60% of the debt overdue by more than 90 days.
The Inkwanca municipality owed Eskom R2 958 739 for overdue bulk and non bulk debt and, at May 26, free basic electricity (FBE) municipalities owed Eskom a total of R7 887 499.”
Not one of the three municipalities received a clean audit in the last financial year.
“Lukhanji received a disclaimer, Tsolwana an unqualified audit and Inkwanca a disclaimer. The municipalities failed to reach the objective of good, clean governance because of a lack of oversight and failed leadership at higher levels and in 2014 the Inkwanca council was dissolved and placed under administration.”
Barker said three dysfunctional municipalities did not make for a successful merger, particularly as
‘Eastern Cape municipalities are in debt to Eskom by
Inkwanca municipality was extremely heavily burdened by debt to Eskom.
“The petitions were circulated in the Lukhanji, Tsolwana and Inkwanca areas. All signatories oppose amalgamation because of the negative effect it will have on residents, municipal finances, the costs attached to re-branding and increased travel among other things.”
The DA has urged the board to heed residents’ wishes to retain the status quo of three separate municipalities.
“Residents have put pen to paper, please heed their voices.”
WELL DONE: Martin and Breda Richardson with their son and new attorney, Robin