NCOP North West Provincial Week: a waste of taxpayer money

By Herman Groenewald (MP), Democratic Alliance member to the National Council of Provinces:

During the NCOP provincial week in the North West (21 – 24 July 2015), the ANC once again proved how they will use taxpayer money and state resources for their own political gain.

We were particularly unsettled by the visits to Kgetlengriver and Moses Kotane areas in North West.

These scheduled visits and meetings were cancelled without reason, denying us our oversight responsibilities to these communities.

Kgetlengriver River in particular is on National Treasury’s list of the 64 worst-performing municipalities in South Africa. Moreover, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) uncovered extensive financial irregularities and unauthorized expenditure totaling R16 million which was recorded during the last audit round.

At a community meeting in Koster, the ANC intentionally tried to hijack the meeting. The ANC Women’s League who arrived wearing party colours, continued singing which delayed the meeting. The mayor Kim Medupe used the opportunity to address the community for more than an hour with political rhetoric.

Food parcels were also handed out to all attendees, a common ANC practice in order to buy votes during election time. The MEC for Local Government, Collin Maine was present at this meeting where residents could put their grievances before the NCOP.

No real problems or concerns were addressed as the ANC misled the community by solely making political speeches.

The oversight visits did not address any problems, making it appear as the North West Province and Local Government are run efficiently with good governance. This is the furthest thing from the truth.

North West with 6.7% of South Africa’s population has a broad unemployment rate of 43.2% compared to the national rate of 36.1%. More residents live in informal dwellings (22.6%) than anywhere in South Africa. In 2011, 8 municipalities were placed under administration. We have also seen a decline in its financial performance management and accountability herein.

During the NCOP Provincial week, issues of great concern that are came up are:

  • Local government concerns include raw sewage running in the streets in Koster.
  • Where street lights and high mast lights are kept on for weeks in Reagile, Cedrela, Derby and Redirile.
  • The approval by the Kgetleng River municipality for a new vehicle for the mayor to the amount of R700 000 – while the current official vehicle will also be repaired for her use.
  • The lack of proper budget planning where Kgetleng River spends the budgeted amount and not the actual income amount. This leads to huge deficits in the budget.
  • Water leaks where clean, fresh water are going to waste in Reagile.
  • A multi-million rand project for the library in Pela, Madikwe that is built, but is not opened yet due to electricity and water supply problems.
  • The water purifying system in the Madikwe area. The system receives water from a local dam that is currently only 14% full. The area around the project is not fenced and poses risks to the community.

The Democratic Alliance will use every Parliamentary mechanism in the NCOP to hold municipalities and the provincial government accountable for a failure to provide services and for misleading the communities on the state of the Province. The DA will not be a bystander when statutory bodies are not performing to address the needs and challenges in the communities they should serve.