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Plea to place municipality under administration

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'The municipality is facing serious governance, financial administrative and service delivery challenges.'

Pictures: Pexels and supplied

THE SAVE Tsantsabane Coalition has requested the Premier’s Office and the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs to place Tsantsabane Local Municipality in Postmasburg under administration.

The coalition said that the municipality is “in distress and facing serious governance, financial, administrative and service delivery challenges.”

Coalition leader Alister Davids said that the municipality owed over R138.7 million to its creditors as of March this year.

“This includes R96 million to Eskom, R30 million to Sedibeng Water, R10 million to Transport, Safety and Liaison and R831 119 to the auditor-general. The municipality has failed to make its payments on time, where payments are up to 433 days overdue and interest is accumulating.”

Davids added that the only reason why the lights were still burning was because Assmang Mine and Kolomela Mine had paid R5 million and R10 million respectively to settle part of the municipal debt owed to Eskom.

“Kumba Iron Ore Kolomela Mine had to step in to repair the sewage pump stations because raw sewage was flowing in the streets and was endangering the health of the public. The town is dirty as a result of the failure of the municipality to collect refuse. Refuse is not being collected because there is no money for oil and petrol. The municipality is not in a position to provide basic services such as water, electricity, sanitation, waste management and is dependent on the mines, solar companies and other stakeholders to provide the services.”

Davids said that the annual financial statements for the 2015/16 and 2017/18 financial years have not been submitted and have exceeded the 60-day deadline.

“The municipality has an unfunded budget and cannot honour its financial commitments. The financial turnaround strategy has also not been implemented, while there is no operational budget. The streets in our town are full of potholes and the municipality does not have the money to procure material to fix the streets.”

Davids indicated that while the area was the hub of increasing economic activity, due to expanding mining activities and renewable energy sites, the state of the municipality was not creating an enabling environment for growth and development in the town. “The future economic potential of the Tsantsabane municipal area is at risk because the private sector has identified the sustainability of the municipality as a business risk.”

Davids also claimed that the municipality was also marred by political infighting and mismanagement by councillors and senior management from the ANC. “Council and committee meetings are not convening and the adjustment budget and annual draft budget were tabled late. Council and senior management do not have the capacity to correct the institutional challenges and problems that are facing the municipality.”

Spokesperson for the Premier, Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams, stated that the premier had received correspondence from the coalition.

“The concerns raised are cause for concern and the provincial administration as a whole has prioritised service delivery as being on top of government’s agenda. Any municipality found not fulfilling its constitutional and regulatory mandate can be placed under administration after due process has been complied with.”

Thomas-Abrahams added that the premier would raise the matter with the MEC responsible for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), to look into the matter and resolve it in the best possible manner.

Coghsta did not respond to media enquiries.