Limpopo municipalities must be placed under administration

Jacques Smalle (MPL)

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader

Cooperative Governance MEC Makoma Makhurupetja must urgently place under performing municipalities such as Baphalaborwa and Thabazimbi under administration.

These municipalities have dismally failed to pay service providers such as Eskom and Lepelle Northern Water Board on time as prescribed by Public Financial Management Act (PFMA).

Now, the municipalities are owing them millions of rands and have also opted to reduce the water supply to 30% that might lead to water crisis to the residents of Modjadjiskloof, Greater Tzaneen and Baphalaborwa.

In Ba Phalaborwa, the municipality has failed to pay the water board and Eskom as early as August 2013.

Seeking solutions from Mopani district municipally to arrange for payments led to the failure of paying the water board in April 2014 an amount of R39 million. With a debt outstanding of close to R200 million and only receiving revenue through taxes from local residence of close to R14 million.

It is clear that the Municipality management is unable to deal with its financial crises and has not yet informed the relevant departments about this issue.

In Thabazimbi, the municipality is owing Eskom more than R54 million. It’s clear that the municipality has been failing to pay the account for more than a year. Their failure to pay on time might lead to Eskom switching off electricity in some areas within the municipality which will have economical and social effects.

Surprisingly, this happens despite the huge service delivery backlog that includes water, RDP houses, electricity, proper sanitation and roads. It’s clear that the local municipality’s financial affairs are in shambles. If the municipality opted not to pay the Eskom account but to accelerate services, it could have been better.

Local government is closest to people in terms of service delivery and it is therefore imperative that it is managed properly. The most disturbing aspect about this is that it will be the communities who suffer because of the lacklustre performance by the municipal officials.

The DA will urgently write to the MEC Makhurupetja to place these municipalities under administration by implementing section 139 of the constitution with immediate effect.