Emalahleni’s Eskom debt skyrockets to the R2-billion mark

Five Mpumalanga municipalities are under consideration to be placed under administration for gross financial mismanagement. Topping the list is Emalahleni who owes Eskom R2-billion.


MEC Speedy Mashilo.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) MEC, Speedy Mashilo confirmed this during the South African Local Government Association Mpumalanga Provincial Members Assembly that sat on August 2.

“We have not heard anything about these reported intentions to place the municipalities under administration. It is news to us, and until we get an official word from CoGTA, we will treat this as nothing but speculation,” said municipal spokesperson, Mr Kingdom Mabuza.

Mr James Masango Democratic Alliance spokesperson on CoGTA lashed out and said,

“While placing Emalahleni, Govan Mbeki, Msukaligwa, Thaba Chweu and Lekwa Local Municipalities under administration will at the very least pause the rot in these municipalities, nothing will change unless all those implicated in the corrupt dealings that have crippled these municipalities are arrested and barred from dealing with public money.”

He said MEC Mashilo must really question how Emalahleni keeps return millions to CoGTA while they owe almost R2-billion to Eskom.

ALSO READ

Eskom wants its R2-billion

Municipality must step up their game

“This clearly shows lack of political will, financial mismanagement, and incapacity as a result of cadre deployment,” Masango said.

The DA called on MEC Mashilo to ensure that the intervention is accompanied with sound financial recovery plans that will ensure that money meant for the people is spent on the people.

Minister of CoGTA Dr Zweli Mkhize is confident that his department can and will turn this around.

He highlights four main areas that the various CoGTA teams will tackle: governance, financial management, infrastructure delivery and political problems.

The team from Cogta has been put together to make sure anyone who gets employed has the right qualifications.

“Anyone who gets employed must be qualified. We’ll do it so strictly that if a municipal manager is appointed, their appointment will remain pending until the minister approves it. “We’ll also be keeping a database of those who were guilty of transgressions and were charged before they were fired. So, if your name appears in an application at any municipality in the country, you will not get appointed,” Dr Mkhize said.


Mr James Masango Democratic Alliance spokesperson on CoGTA.


Minister of CoGTA Dr Zweli Mkhize.

Another team made up of officials from CoGTA and National Treasury will be sent to problematic municipalities to make sure they abide by the Municipal Systems Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act.

To assist municipalities who cannot afford engineers, town planners and chartered accountants, a municipal technical support teams at district level was created.

According to Dr Mkhize, a big challenge is to ensure all municipalities spend the infrastructure service grants they receive.

“I’m sending a letter to all mayors; they’re going to be setting up budgets. I want to see them budget for the simple measures people want to see taken. Can they ensure that the streets are clean? Can they ensure that there are no potholes? Can they make sure the grass is cut? Can they fix the leaks? Can they supply water and electricity where they have capacity?”

“Every cent of the municipal infrastructure grant was spent. There was total 100 percent spending after they reduced the grant in the third quarter,” said Mabuza.

The last and most problematic issue for the department is political infighting and interference in the municipalities, which sometimes leads to complete collapse.

Dr Mkhize told leaders to take responsibility and gave them one year to sort their house out.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) welcomes Dr Mkhize’s plan to deploy teams of engineers and town planners in dysfunctional municipalities. However, they are concerned that the plans do not go to the core of the problems so will not be sustainable.

“The local communities, including ratepayers’ associations and local businesses, have been calling for this intervention for a very long time, but their cries fell on deaf ears. There is no doubt that communities are yearning for qualified engineers and town planners to address infrastructural issues relating to water, sewage, electrical sub-stations, maintenance workshops and similar matters. However, these are the symptoms of deeper systemic issues within local government and political meddling that have failed the communities in these dysfunctional municipalities,” says Dr Makhosi Khoza, executive director at OUTA on Local Governance matters.

  AUTHOR
Zita Goldswain
Assistant Editor

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top
Recommended Story x
Emalahleni in desperate need of help

Thanks for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

Middelburg Observer
Witbank News


Get regular news updates sent directly to your inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites

SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter

SELECT your titles:

Middelburg Observer
Witbank News

Get regular news updates sent directly to you inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

Subscribe Here
1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
Your details:


Your friends: