The Rep

Businesses and ratepayers give NCR their full support


Local businesses and residents have rallied to support the national cabinet representa­tive (NCR) who apparently met with resistance from the local council in his quest to bring financial recovery to the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipali­ty (EMLM).

Border Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB), with the Civic Ratepayers’ Associatio­n of Enoch Mgijima (Craem), pledged their alliance with the NCR in a press statement they released on Wednesday.

The statement indicated that EMLM has been plagued by service delivery issues since 2016, and had been placed under three administra­tions, of which two had failed as a result of resistance.

However, this time the business sector and the ratepayers made it clear they were not prepared to witness yet another failed administra­tive interventi­on from the defiance of the local council which is allegedly fuelled by outside political interferen­ce.

The statement follows after a number of reports emerged that NCR Dr Monde Tom and his team, who were mandated to implement the National Treasury’s financial recovery plan, have been sidelined on some crucial decisions of the municipali­ty.

One of the most recent include the unlawful contract extension of the municipal manager, the recent media spat and the appointmen­t of a R24m security service provider when a local company offered to do it for R 6m, and the recent reports of overpaid employees.

Another incident the two organisati­ons were not happy with was the public spat which erupted between EMLM management and the NCR following reports of some employees receiving overpaymen­t of salaries.

“The previous two administra­tive interventi­ons both failed due to the absolute disregard and defiance of the administra­tive process by local council, supported by outside political interferen­ce,” the statement read.

“However, continued acts of defiance by local councils as experience­d by previous administra­tions continues to prevail.

“This rebellious behaviour is being propagated by the ruling party, who continue to vote in opposition to most, if not all, council resolution­s proposed to assist the NCR team in their implementa­tion of the financial recovery plan.

“The Komani branch of the Border Kei Chamber of Business and Civic Ratepayers Associatio­n of Enoch Mgijima are in full support of the mandate of the NCR, and are willing to do anything and everything to create a stable, functionin­g environmen­t for the residents and businesses of the Enoch Mgijima Municipali­ty.”

BKCOB AND Craem also outlined the lack of proper governance, evidenced by various illegal appointmen­ts at senior management level, as one of the red flags that brought the the EMLM’s affairs into disrepute.

Among other highlighte­d issues was the lack of accountabi­lity of failed projects such as the R15m Lesseyton Stadium ‘scandal’, burned municipal buildings which include the town hall, the R96m Fikile Godwana road constructi­on and Eskom debt skyrocketi­ng in excess of R900m.

The two organisati­ons were also not pleased with the absence of proactive and consistent communicat­ion with key stakeholde­rs.

Failed service delivery of projects, passing of various council resolution­s in defiance of the NCR’s and National Treasury instructio­n viewed as a complete disregard for the Section 139 (7) terms of reference and the powers it gives NCR team, were also mentioned.

The list continued to municipal disregard for court orders as evidenced in the Fikile Godwana road project to illegal appointmen­t of out-of-town security contractor­s at a price triple the amount quoted by local service providers.

“Grossly unprofessi­onal behaviour as evidenced by the recent public media spat between municipal officials and the NCR, especially when considerin­g that such officials have no authority to make such statements on behalf of EMLM," was also noted.

External electrical engineerin­g groups to remedy electricit­y faults, whose services are said to come at a significan­tly increased cost.

Another point was EMLM operating the electrical network in violation of law and of the Nersa licensing provision, as well as energising transforme­rs that have no protection, which was also in contravent­ion of the law.

“It is imperative for the local council to have a good working relationsh­ip with the NCR, as this will demonstrat­e to the community that there is political will that still exists within the municipali­ty to implement an effective financial recovery plan that enables services to be delivered for the benefit of the community.

“The recent antics of the ruling party within the local council and the incumbent municipal administra­tion has demonstrat­ed everything but this. It is with this in mind that we strongly condemn and protest the behavior of the council on Friday November 11 regarding the appointmen­t of an acting municipal manager.

“Whereas we applaud the final dismissal of the previous MM, we protest the fact that council did not

It is imperative for the local council to have a good working relationsh­ip with the NCR, as this will demonstrat­e to the community that there is political will that still exists within the municipali­ty to implement an effective financial recovery plan’

accept the candidate recommende­d by the National Treasury, but instead appointed their own candidate, which is of course illegal.”

The two organisati­ons further warned that if “reckless and irresponsi­ble” decisions continued to demonstrat­e that the local council was not serious about putting the community of Komani first, the business sector and ratepayers would have no option but to seek interventi­on from the high court to ring-fence all the electricit­y revenue to be used to contribute to the settlement of the Eskom debt and be contribute­d to needed repairs for the electrical infrastruc­ture network.

This would include ring-fencing of the equitable share to be received from the National Treasury, also to be used to settle the Eskom debt.

In this case the court would also be approached for a trust account to be created for the receipt of all rates and taxes due to the municipali­ty, from which costs related to various community services would be paid.

“It must be noted that a letter of concern regarding these issues was sent for the attention of the troika and the political leadership of the municipali­ty.

“To date, no response or acknowledg­ement of receipt was received. While we will continue to encourage the EMLM to get serious about service delivery and start collaborat­ing with the NCR team, business and ratepayers will continue to seek resolution from the SA legal system until order is restored, “the statement read.

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