By Ina Cilliers MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Merafong:
The Merafong municipality is on the verge of financial collapse. For the past three months its billing system has been offline, rendering it unable to collect revenue from debtors.
In a council meeting held on 23 July it was revealed that:
- As of end June 2015 the municipality has been running a deficit of R33.7 million;
- Outstanding debtors increased by almost R103 million and now stands at R758 million;
- Outstanding creditors amounted to over R70 million, of which R55 million is from trade creditors- affecting businesses that do business with the municipality.
- In the past few months the municipality experienced massive water infrastructure failures, as unattended leaks have caused sinkholes to appear – severely compromising water delivery;
- Currently Merafong loses up to 52% of its water; and
- It is estimated that it would cost around R900 million to repair water infrastructure.
The fact is that Merafong has completely lost the ability to manage its finances and provide quality services to its residents.
If left unchecked, the municipality will soon rack up phenomenal debts with bulk water and electricity suppliers, further compromising people’s quality of life.
While Cooperative Governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo refuses to implement a Section 139(1)(b) intervention, the fact is that the council can and should request assistance in terms of existing legislation.
To this end the DA Merafong caucus leader, Cllr Blackie Zwart, will table a motion calling on council to resolve to request assistance from the West Rand District Municipality and cooperative governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo in terms of:
- Section 155 of the Constitution;
- Section 105 of the Municipal Structures Act; and
- Sections 83 and 88 of the Municipal Systems Act.
The DA will continue to carry out our mandate of oversight and ensure that residents and communities across the Merafong municipality receive quality and decent service delivery.