By James Letuka, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The DA cannot take COGTAH MEC Olly Mlameli’s apparent commitment to work with municipalities seriously since her absence from the entire provincial week was duly noted by the delegation.
MEC Mlamleli has been on record claiming that her department, jointly with Treasury, are working closely with municipalities in the Free State to improve not only the delivery of services, but to assist in capacitating the finance and audit teams of municipalities to ensure compliance with the MFMA and to improve audit outcomes.
Not a single Free State municipality received a clean audit for the 2013/14 financial year while municipalities here collectively lost almost R3,54 billion in irregular, unauthorised and fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Our municipalities carry a collective household debt of R9,1 billion of which only R2,3 billion is expected to be recovered.
This clearly indicates that the province is in a critical state of dysfunction. Municipalities are unable to deliver the most basic of services such as the collection of refuse, the maintenance of roads, and the smooth operation of water and sanitation services. Not only are residents now burdened with ESKOM’s loadshedding, the residents of Naledi are now also burdened with watershedding. The community has intermittent access to water.
This week the Free State’s permanent delegation to the NCOP and members of the Provincial Legislature participated in various oversight visits to the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, the Xahriep District Municipality, and the Kopanong and Naledi Local Municipalities.
The Xhariep, Kopanong and Naledi all received qualified with findings audit opinions for the 2013/14 financial year.
The purpose of the NCOP Provincial week is to engage with local government in order to get feedback on the ability of municipalities to deliver and improve on service delivery, assess the administrative and financial situation as well as to identify any problem areas that may need either the provincial of national spheres of government to assist municipalities with.
MEC Mlamleli’s absence is proof that she is not interested in delivering on her constitutional mandate.
Moreover, the absence of Premier Ace Magashule, Health MEC Benny Malakoane, and Public Works MEC Dora Kotzee indicates that the entire ANC-led provincial government are not committed to improving the lives of the people of the Free State. They undermine oversight and shy away from accountability.
We do not know whether the ANC in the Free State wilfully do not want to govern, or whether they actually can’t govern. These are questions that the people of the Free State must take with them into the voting booth in next year’s local elections.
The time for change has come. In order to stop the province from becoming a ‘failed state’ the people must vote for the only alternative.
The DA cares.
We are the only alternative to the poor governance of the ANC. Where we govern, we govern well and most importantly our people’s lives improve for the better.