The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West is concerned about the scheduled power cuts of more than five hours per day as a means of credit control that was recently implemented at the Naledi Local Municipality. The repercussions of such power cuts for the local economy is far-reaching and urgent intervention is needed.
In an attempt to find solutions, we have contacted the Administrator of Naledi Local Municipality, Paul Maseko, MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (COGHSTA), Gordon Kegakilwe and Premier Mokgoro respectively, but were told that, due to the fact that Naledi is technically bankrupt, little can be done to keep the lights on.
The R5 million paid on the outstanding Eskom account was insufficient to cover the agreed instalment and does not make a dent in the total of R290 million owed.
This crisis can be attributed to poor financial planning, corruption, poor revenue collection, lack of consequence management and no accountability for underperforming municipal officials.
Revenue collection remains one of the most pressing issues and cashflow constraints can be significantly improved by putting measures in place to collect the shocking outstanding debt in the amount of R308 million.
Adding to the non-collection of revenue, is the 3000 RDP houses built in Extensions 25 and 28 in Huhudi that are allegedly not registered on the municipal revenue system and therefore not a cent has been collected since 2009.
It is further alleged that a whopping R800 million was looted by Khotso Khasu Engineers, the contractors who built these houses in 2009.
This municipality is in arrears on third party payments, ratepayers are not getting any services and infrastructure is falling apart and yet no one is held accountable.
The Provincial Government’s intervention in terms of Section 139(1)(b) in 2018, was a little too late; mitigation should have taken place years ago when the first signs of maladministration became known.
If urgent action is not taken, residents will be left without water, which in turn will put strain on the already dilapidated sewage system.
We call upon Premier Mokgoro to urgently announce a plan of action for all cash strapped municipalities that are unable to pay their Eskom debt.
The DA strongly rejects any measure that seeks to punish the people for the poor governance of the ANC. It is unconstitutional and unethical for Eskom to proceed with the disconnection of electricity supply to paying consumers. The reason why Eskom is collectively owed more than R1 billion by North West Municipalities is not the fault of paying residents.
The DA will continue to fight for good governance within municipalities to ensure that each resident has access to proper service delivery.