DA AL­LEGES MU­NIC­I­PAL­ITY IS INSOLVENT

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE -

The Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity owes close to a quar­ter of a bil­lion rand and is trad­ing un­der insolvent cir­cum­stances, the DA has in­di­cated.

DA cau­cus leader Chris de Wet said on Wed­nes­day since the amal­ga­ma­tion of the three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to form the Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (EMLM), res­i­dents of the new en­tity had had to en­dure an es­ca­lat­ing lack of ba­sic ser­vices, as well as mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion of fi­nances and in­fra­struc­ture in the towns and vil­lages.

“In 2018, res­i­dents have ex­pe­ri­enced events no one thought could ever oc­cur and which have caused im­mense hard­ship.”

He said the DA had “con­sis­tently warned against the mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and cadre em­ploy­ment un­der the present ANC regime which in­evitably has to lead to the demise of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity”.

The past few years had seen an in­crease of abuse of power and ir­reg­u­lar and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture, he said, quot­ing the use of res­i­dents’ money to buy R90,000 of KFC for an ANC event and the al­most R1m for the hire of a lux­ury ve­hi­cle for the mayor “where there was a suit­able ve­hi­cle avail­able in the car pool” as ex­am­ples.

“The rot has be­come so deep and sys­temic that it has de­stroyed the fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity of the EMLM.”

De Wet said the lat­est quar­terly bud­get mon­i­tor­ing re­port end­ing Septem­ber 30, painted a shock­ing pic­ture of the fi­nances of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“Most dis­turb­ing is the fig­ure of R223m the mu­nic­i­pal­ity owes as at Septem­ber 30. This means EMLM has out­stand­ing bills to pay of al­most a quar­ter of a bil­lion rand.”

This amount, he said, in­cluded R118m owed to Eskom.

The fig­ure, he warned, could be even higher as some out­stand­ing claims were be­ing ver­i­fied.

De Wet said EMLM cur­rently had about R10m in its bank ac­counts and the DA be­lieved there were no rea­son­able prospects of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity be­ing able to pay its cred­i­tors.

There were no ef­fec­tive con­trols to curb ex­pen­di­ture for fuel over the past three months at R2,15m de­spite the fact that there were only a few ve­hi­cles and lit­tle ser­vice de­liv­ery tak­ing place.

“The mu­nic­i­pal­ity only col­lects enough rev­enue to pay salaries and lit­tle else. The out­stand­ing debtors book is at R712m, of which lit­tle is col­lected.”

De Wet said as a re­sult of mis­man­age­ment, ser­vice de­liv­ery had come to a halt or been se­verely af­fected.

“Wa­ter and elec­tric­ity out­ages have be­come part of our lives. Other ser­vices like refuse re­moval and clean­ing of streets are also er­ratic. There are al­most no re­pairs or main­te­nance be­ing done and in­fra­struc­ture is fast de­te­ri­o­rat­ing.“

He said Ko­mani and other towns in the area were “pro­gres­sively look­ing like war zones”, with streets strewn with filth, wan­der­ing live­stock, sew­er­age wa­ter in streets, over­grown pub­lic spa­ces and pave­ments, dis­in­te­grat­ing streets and bro­ken traf­fic lights and signs.

He said the in­sol­vency and col­lapse were more ev­i­dent among the poorer com­mu­ni­ties which did not have re­sources to deal with the cri­sis and had to en­sure hard­ship daily.

“Busi­ness and in­vestors are in­creas­ingly start­ing to dis­in­vest or re­frain from in­vest­ing in our area. This will hurt the poorer com­mu­ni­ties, where un­em­ploy­ment is at record lev­els. Un­der these cir­cum­stances, the mood of the peo­ple may eas­ily be­come des­per­ate and peo­ple will take the law into their own hands and vent their frus­tra­tion by il­le­gal marches and even stronger protests like burn­ing and loot­ing pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture.

“This has al­ready hap­pened in Stut­ter­heim and Sterk­stroom.”

He said the DA con­demned il­le­gal protest but the present regime would have to take full re­spon­si­bil­ity when it hap­pened.

“Un­less some­thing is done to turn the ad­min­is­tra­tion around, its to­tal col­lapse is in­evitable.”

Com­mu­nity meet­ings to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion and how to turn it around would be held for Madeira and Kings Park res­i­dents at the Gali Them­bani (formerly JJ Ser­fontein) school on Sun­day at 3pm and for the rest of the town at 6pm on Mon­day at the Hangk­lip Pri­mary hall. Dates, times and venues for meet­ings in other ar­eas are also be­ing set up.

De Wet said the meet­ings were open to any in­ter­ested in­di­vid­u­als or groups want­ing to at­tend.

The EMLM re­sponse to the state­ment was re­ceived late and ac­com­mo­dated on p3 of to­day’s Rep. Please read it there.

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