Electricityless Renosterberg must be placed under administration

By Ismail Obaray MPL DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of SCOPA:

The DA has today written to MEC Alvin Botes, reiterating our call to urgently place the Renosterberg Local Municipality under administration in terms of section 139 of the Constitution.

MEC Botes must then refer the call to Minister Pravin Gordhan, and to the National Council of Provinces for approval.

This comes after Eskom today publicised a notice of disconnection of bulk electricity supplies to Renosterberg Local Municipality.

Eskom intends cutting the supply of electricity to the towns of Petrusville, Van der Kloof and Phillipstown on Friday, 25 September, following the municipality’s failure to settle its account of over R22 million, some of which has been outstanding since 19 March 2012.

The DA first called for Renosterberg municipality to be placed under administration after the municipality was exposed as being the worst performing municipality in the province in the latest section 47 report. Amongst other problems, it came to light that cash flow was seriously constrained and there was a problem with numerous faulty accounts as well as water and electricity losses.

Shortly thereafter, the Mayor of Renosterberg Municipality, Zet Kwinana, was removed from his post. The DA welcomed the intervention but expressed our concern as to whether this was enough to save the municipality from going under – obviously it was not.

Clearly the municipality still does not have a strategy to address the arrears and it has failed to make arrangements to cover the outstanding accounts. This is very worrying, considering that aside from Eskom, the municipality also owes the Water Board R1.7 million and the Auditor-General R7.4 million.

It is not fair that the people living in Renosterberg have to suffer as a result of local government’s incompetence. Electricity is our primary source of heat and light. Without it people struggle to cook, stay warm and study.

The DA believes it is government’s moral duty to ensure that everyone has access to the basic services they need to improve their lives. Where the DA governs we work to ensure that all creditors of the municipality are paid within legal timeframes, and in the Western Cape DA municipalities pay their Eskom bills on time.

The implementation of a high level intervention in Renosterberg can no longer be delayed.