DA requests President to attend to non payment by Metsimaholo

Patricia Kopane MP

DA leader in the Free State

The Democratic Alliance (DA) today officially requested President Jacob Zuma to urgently review the non-payment of service providers by Metsimaholo Municipality and ensure that corrective measures are implemented.

Assets used for service delivery in Metsimaholo municipality were confiscated by the sheriff on Friday as a result of the municipality’s inability to pay their service providers.

3 traffic vehicles and two domestic waste compactors were confiscated.

This is not the first time property of the municipality has been seized.

The DA welcomes the announcement by President in his 2013 SONA that “it is a key project for the presidency to get government departments to pay SMMEs within 30 days”.

He also added that “accounting officers who fail to execute this directive, should face consequences.”

The time has come for the president to show true political leadership by ensuring that municipalities and provincial departments honour their obligations by paying service providers within 30 days.

Municipalities, such as Metsimaholo, who show no urgency to pay their debt, has a broad and negative effect on our communities. These include:

* A cycle of non-payment develops amongst all relevant business connected to municipal projects or goods and services. If one member of the chain does not pay their debt, there is a good chance that linked businesses will also not be paid, and so on and so on. This is an elementary business principle.

* Many of the SMMEs are heavily reliant on the income from governments and municipalities to be able to pay wages to workers, many of whom could be the only bread winner in their families.

* The effect on the economy in our communities is evident, since the flow of capital is being decelerated. This means that secondary economy is being affected to the extent that the expected capital of respective households cannot budget for money that has not been received.

* Furthermore, it is essentially our residents who are being denied services.

In his discussion regarding job creation, the president’s SONA painted the following bleak picture:

* South Africa’s GDP growth is expected to average at 2.5% cent, down from 3.1% in the previous year.

* We need growth rates in excess of five per cent to create more jobs.

However, if government, who can be regarded as one of the major contributors to job opportunities in the country, is incapable of paying their service providers on time, any growth rate in excess of this target appears nothing to be more than a dream. By paying debt, municipalities and government departments will take an major step in improving our economy.

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