George Mari, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs
A Parliamentary reply to the Democratic Alliance has revealed that there are eight Msunduzi Councillors who reneged on rates and services payments – this, despite an earlier list of defaulting Councillors in the province which made no mention of Msunduzi public representatives.
Last month, the DA requested the names of all KwaZulu-Natal Councillors who had failed to honour municipal debts. Upon receipt, we noticed that not one Councillor from Msunduzi appeared on the list. We subsequently submitted a further parliamentary question to provincial COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube.
The MEC’s response, signed on 16 May, confirms that there are eight Msunduzi Councillors with outstanding debt totalling R111 457.
No reason was given for the names not appearing on the original list.
According to the parliamentary reply, Msunduzi’s biggest offenders are Councillor VGM Mlete, who owes the municipality R48 640, Councillor DB Phungula, who owes R32 611 and Councillor P Sithole, who is in debt to the tune of R19 784. While Councillor Mlete has begun paying off his debt, it is alarming to note that Councillor Sithole’s debt has climbed since last year – from R13 563 to the current R19 784. Meanwhile, Councillor Phungula appears to have made no attempt whatsoever to pay off the monies owed to the municipality.
This makes a mockery of the MEC’s response that Councillors were briefed by the Accounting Officer and Mayor and that ‘arrangements have been put in place to recover the outstanding debt’ with an acknowledgement of debt signed and monies recovered from the payroll.
Clearly some municipal officials did not get the memo.
The MEC needs to explain how this has been allowed to happen. In not enforcing the repayment of debt adequately, she has exposed a loophole to be taken advantage of by other unscrupulous public servants.
Ordinary ratepayers have their services cut off if they don’t pay for them. Yet, in Msunduzi it appears that there are individuals who believe that they are exempt from such action. Such arrogance brings into question their suitability as representatives of the public.
The DA expects answers from the MEC. We want to know why these eight names were left off the original list. We also want to know what she plans to do about Councillors reneging on paying back their debts.