Struggling municipalities need guidance and support

James Masango MPL

DA Mpumalanga Spokesperson for Local Government

The following is a member’s statement as delivered to the Mpumalanga Legislature today.

The Democratic Alliance strongly condemns the Lekwa Local Municipality for cutting the electricity to various schools in Sakhile and in Standerton. Chaos and disruption occurred this past weekend because of electricity cuts, and school principals placed the blame on Lekwa’s faulty billing system.

Although schools have paid their water and electricity bills, their rates and taxes have to be paid by province. The municipality is entitled to consolidate the outstanding amounts, and suspended schools’ services because province did not pay rates and taxes.

On October 6 last year the MEC for COGTA replied to a DA written question and said that the billing chaos in all municipalities will be sorted out, and that all outstanding debts will be paid.

Furthermore, Eskom is now threatening to cut Lekwa’s electricity supply due to non-payment, which can also be blamed on poor financial management and revenue collection.

COGTA will have to face the fact that Lekwa, like many other municipalities, is heading for a crisis, and that it should offer support and guidance to Lekwa as determined by Section 105 of the Municipal Systems Act.

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