Government owes Gauteng metros and municipalities over R700 million

Fred Nel MPL

DA Shadow MEC of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs

According to Gauteng Treasury’s Municipal Consolidated statement for August 2014, government owes the province’s metros and municipalities over R700 million.

This is debt which is over 90 days old.

The City of Johannesburg alone is owed more than R300 million, with Emfuleni and Ekurhuleni owed R211 million and R198 million respectively.

Disturbingly, the City of Tshwane has no record of government debt for the period, while other municipalities, such as the West Rand, have little to no government, commercial or household debtors recorded in their age analysis.

This indicates a serious billing crisis in these structures which has long been ignored by ANC-led administrations.

A report delivered by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) in Parliament yesterday indicates that government’s share of R93.4 billion in municipal debt is R4.1 billion.

It is clear that Gauteng is bearing the brunt of this with almost a quarter of government debt in this province alone.

Current programmes embarked on by the Gauteng COGTA department have not delivered the desired results. The DA therefore calls on the MEC to urgently call a meeting of all local government stakeholders in Gauteng to seek proper solutions for improving the debtor situation faced by municipalities.

The constant growth in municipal debtors is causing cash flow problems for municipalities in the province that hampers their ability to deliver services. Hence the deterioration in response times for the reparation of water and electricity outages in Gauteng municipalities.

Continuing along this financial trajectory will only deny our most vulnerable citizens a chance at a better life.