The report stated that therefore the basic charge for households was “inconsistent with the directive from Nersa.”

The Section 106 investigation report.

THE PROPOSED basic electricity tariff of R260, which sparked unrest in the community, would have generated an estimated revenue of R727.9 million for Sol Plaatje Municipality if it was implemented.

The calculations were made by the former Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika.

In the Section 106 investigation report, the task team recommended that Sol Plaatje Municipality implement the directive of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). It was indicated that Nersa had instructed the municipality in June 2017 to restructure the electricity tariff so that all domestic customers, including indigents, were charged the same rate.

“There is only one single rate for commercial customers. The municipality must restructure this tariff category to introduce a basic charge and lower the energy rates.”

The report stated that therefore the basic charge for households was “inconsistent with the directive from Nersa.”

The municipality was instructed that the rate be lowered and a basic charge should be introduced, while industrial customers be charged a basic, energy and demand charge.

Nersa approved a 6.84 percent increase on electricity prices on April 25 while the municipality had set its electricity tariff at 5.95 percent.

The task team meanwhile found that the special council meeting that continued after the former Sol Plaatje Speaker, Elizabeth Johnson, was voted out of her position, was “unprocedural and unlawful”.

The meeting was adjourned by Johnson before the 2018/19 budget was approved.

Johnson was removed by council through a motion of no confidence on June 13, while the motion of no confidence in the former executive mayor (Matika) was dismissed on the same day.

The investigation indicated that the continuation of this meeting, where acting Speaker Ben Springbok was appointed on June 13, and the consequent removal of Johnson through a motion of no confidence, was “not properly constituted, unprocedural and unlawful”.

“The meeting was not called by the Speaker in terms of section 29 (1) of the Structures Act and Rule 6.1 of Standard Rules of order of council and its committees. No formal notice was issued as required by rule 6.3 of the standard rules of order of council and its committees of the municipality as the Speaker had adjourned the meeting.”

It added that while the meeting that was convened on May 31 was not properly constituted, the decision to approve the budget should stand as it would result in “dire impractical consequences for the municipality and residents”.

The municipal manager was also instructed to present an action plan to review the status of indigents, as it was discovered that persons who did not qualify were benefiting from free basic services.