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NC municipal manager apologises to creditors

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Administrator points out that one of the reasons why the municipality was placed under administration was because it could not pay creditors on time

Renosterberg Local Municipality. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE MUNICIPAL manager of Renosterberg Local Municipality, Morné Hoogbaard, has apologised to creditors for outstanding payments.

The embattled local authority is under administration

In correspondence this week, Hoogbaard stated that there were available funds in the municipal coffers and that it was “criminal” to withhold payments when it was policy to settle debts within 30 days.

“The damage and harm caused by the administrator’s late payment of salaries in October and November already hurt businesses. The continued refusal to pay creditors worsens the wrong and the injury. This irresponsible management is incomprehensible and especially ignoble when Covid-19 ravages lives and businesses,” said Hoogbaard.

“I remain the de facto municipal manager and I have already instructed the administrator to pay creditors on December 14.

“Late payment compromises and embarrasses the municipality and is completely at odds with generally accepted good governance and mature management practice.”

Hoogbaard called for a virtual meeting to be arranged between Eskom, representatives of the Renosterberg council and the Vanderkloof Ratepayers’ Association to conclude an interim payment arrangement.

“The people of Renosterberg are embarrassed by the nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance of former administrations … that resulted in the current dispute with Eskom. I am attempting to remedy it. The unfortunate ongoing recent bungling of the administrator exacerbated the error. I apologise for this interruption in good governance.”

Hoogbaard also questioned the existence of the financial recovery plan.

“It is now the fifth month of the ‘recovery’ and outstanding annual financials are still not filed with the auditor-general. Municipal accounts have not been paid and accounts for rates and services are in absolute disarray – there is no reliable measuring of utilities and no reliable accounts generated.”

Hoogbaard noted that service delivery continued to decline and that the water supply was compromised by sewage contamination.

“Unnecessary expenses are being wasted on sanitation, while a perfectly adequate fleet remains parked in De Aar and is not used. This borders on lunacy.”

He accused the administrator of acting in contempt of office and of bringing the municipality into disrepute.

“Parties who conspired to derail Renosterberg Municipality, by intent, incompetence, or otherwise, can hardly be trusted to run a bath, and certainly not to run a municipality. I will personally monitor the fixing and report directly to the ratepayers and the residents of Renosterberg.”

The administrator, Thembilizwe Loko, pointed out that one of the reasons why the municipality was placed under administration was because it could not pay creditors on time.

“This took place while Hoogbaard was the municipal manager. As the administrator I am comfortable that the intervention is gradually yielding positive results. The municipality is moving away from the mess he created,” said Loko.

He indicated that the municipality would remain under administration until such time as the executive committee is of the opinion that the municipality is in a position to carry out its constitutional obligations.

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