Mess in Mooi River

2013-06-10 00:00

MPOFANA in Mooi River is the latest municipality in trouble.

The Witness has been told the telephone account has allegedly not been paid, there are no pens and paper, and staff make do without toilet rolls.

Workers who have been on strike for the past three weeks are returning today, but claim they are unable to do their jobs without the tools of their trade.

Staff who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said they initially went on strike on finding out out that the municipality had not paid its contribution to their pension fund.

They claim the only reason they are returning to work today is because they do not want to lose their jobs. They are pinning their hopes on MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nomusa Dube, stepping in.

The workers claim that although the MEC had been on a fact-finding mission last week, a more urgent intervention is required before the municipality collapses completely.

When The Witness visited Mpofana last week, desks were deserted, with only one or two people at their posts. Rubbish was piled up on the streets and workers alleged that the municipality had not provided petrol for refuse trucks. Mayor Ntombi Mpangase-Mchunu was visited in her office, but declined to comment and asked for questions to be e-mailed to her. These were sent twice, as well as a text message reminder, but no response has been received to date.

Meanwhile, opposition parties have also called for Dube’s urgent intervention. IFP caucus chairperson Mbongeni Madlala sent out a press release saying there was a complete breakdown in communication and that “the municipality appeared unable or unwilling to address the issues raised by the workers”.

DA councillor Ken Denysschen said there were serious financial problems at the municipality, compounded by the fact that there was no municipal manager or chief financial officer.

He was aware of allegations that municipal infrastructure grant money had been used for operational costs and now the money was required because the unspent grants had to be paid back to national government.

Dube’s spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said that Mpofana, like other municipalities of its size and capacity, was facing challenges that had arisen for a number of reasons. He said a problem was that the municipality had a low revenue base, hence the insufficiency of funds. Mabaso said the department was analysing the situation to see how it could be turned around.

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