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Stop power cuts, says ANC

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The aggressive implementation of the Debt Recovery Programme is seen as one way of helping to reduce this shortfall.

BLOCKING: The ANC in the Northern Cape urged councillors to go on an information campaign to inform residents how to register as indigents. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE AFRICAN National Congress in the Northern Cape will instruct its caucuses to place a moratorium on the cutting and/or blocking of electricity for indigents.

In a statement issued yesterday, the party added, however, that those who are able to pay for their services must pay.

“Our councillors must also go on an information campaign to inform our people on how to register as indigents,” the party’s provincial secretary, Deshi Ngxanga, said yesterday.

Ngxanga stated further that the party would mandate the Northern Cape Provincial Government to, before the end of November 2018, make some form of payment on debt owed to municipalities and to make arrangements on how the outstanding amounts will be dealt with.

“We are confident that once government departments start paying off the debt owed to municipalities, our municipalities will be able to function and go back to basics and on a path of financial sustainability,” Ngxanga said.

Yesterday’s statement followed “constant engagements” between the ANC and various stakeholders “to ensure that our communities are put first”.

“It is our view as the ANC that although much has been done to improve the lives of our people, a lot more can be done to ensure that we root out corruption which is robbing the poor and depriving communities of basic services. We are committed as the ANC to ensure that we intensify the fight against corruption and maladministration in all 31 municipalities,” Ngxanga said.

He added that the party had made concrete recommendations to both the leadership in the municipalities as well as at the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs.

The ANC will also instruct all its caucuses to place a moratorium on the cutting and/or blocking of electricity for indigents and ensure that those who are able to pay for their services must pay.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality’s water interruptions in the evening to boost the storage capacity of the Newton Reservoir also came under the spotlight. “While we commend the municipality for this, we will recommend to the municipality that they review the shutdown and opening times to ensure that people have sufficient water in the morning.”

Ngxanga added that all PEC (Provincial Executive Committee) deployees had been instructed to engage with different stakeholders on a range of issues related to service delivery.

“Strengthening local government is an apex priority and at the epicentre of creating a better life for all our people. We will, in the coming weeks, be intensifying our Thuma Mina Campaign and to be of service to our people.”

As outstanding debts owed to the Sol Plaatje exceeded the
R2 billion mark, the municipality started implementing its Debt Recovery Programme which saw electricity being cut to hundreds of city residents from the beginning of this month.

According to the latest report on the debtors, dated June 30, city residents owe the municipality
R1.2 billion, while government, the next highest debtor owes
R713.6 million. Businesses owe R209 million and residential businesses owe almost R34 million.

The municipality is facing an expected shortfall this year of R148.8 million mostly as a result of the non-implementation of the basic charge for household meters. The aggressive implementation of the Debt Recovery Programme is seen as one way of helping to reduce this shortfall.

Several other municipalities in the province are also in dire financial straits and yesterday Eskom announced that it intended to cut the supply of electricity to the Kai !Garib Local Municipality, which owes the power utility more than R159 million.