An open let­ter to Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity

The Rep - - IN OUR POST BAG -

CON­CERNED res­i­dent of Ko­mani

writes: The re­port (“Bank loan for mu­nic­i­pal­ity” The Rep, Jan­uary 19) that the Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is plan­ning to bor­row R40-mil­lion to al­low pay­ment to Eskom filled me with even more con­cern than nor­mal.

While the town’s CBD and the res­i­den­tial ar­eas’ in­fra­struc­ture is show­ing ob­vi­ous signs of col­lapse – from pot­holed streets to sewage leaks – it seems there is no money to fix even the small­est things. Road signs are not re­placed and stormwa­ter drains con­tinue to be blocked up.

My ques­tion is: where is the money go­ing – and where has it gone in the past? We have heard that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is plan­ning to step up debt col­lec­tion but will it be enough to re­store ser­vices – and the de­liv­ery thereof to the town, re­pay the bank loan, pay Eskom and staff salaries in the months to come and to start work­ing on re­plac­ing in­fra­struc­ture?

I would like to be pos­i­tive, but I doubt that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would sud­denly start mak­ing so much money as to al­low it to make a ma­jor turn­around in the next few months.

The al­ter­na­tive sce­nario is even scarier: a town where Eskom will even­tu­ally cut off the power and where ser­vices will con­tinue to de­te­ri­o­rate un­til busi­ness pulls out and Ko­mani – and the sur­round­ing towns which also fall un­der EMLM – be­come ghost towns.

Maybe the mu­nic­i­pal­ity must first do an in­ter­nal au­dit and see where they are wast­ing money and then curb their ex­penses. In ad­di­tion, start by be­ing trans­par­ent and tell res­i­dents what is hap­pen­ing.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

HAV­ING FUN: Play­ways pupil, Alu Ngculu, en­joy­ing her food at snack time dur­ing the first week of school

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