‘No more councillor debtors’

2013-03-11 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL municipalities under ANC administration have been ordered to recoup an undisclosed amount of money owed by councillors for rates and services.

“We have made the point that those councillors who owe municipalities for services must be made to pay,” ANC provincial chairperson Zweli MKhize said yesterday.

“There should be no compromise.”

Mkhize made the statements at the press briefing on the outcomes of the ANC summit on local government held in Durban.

The summit started on Friday and is aimed at assessing the state of ANC-led municipalities in the province.

It was attended by 52 mayors, 39 deputy mayors and 47 speakers from ANC-led councils.

Mkhize did not disclose the total amount owed by councillors, saying some of the debt was not actual money owed by councillors in their personal capacity.

He made an example of a sum of R250 000 owed to a municipality by councillors, which was in fact a communal debt for provision of services.

Apparently, councillors’ names were used to acquire water before they even became councillors.

“When they were elected they carried over the debt. It’s a communal debt.”

Mkhize said that when councillors owed money directly to municipalities, letters of demand would be served on them to pay up.

Also speaking at the media briefing, ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the ruling party was impressed that its councils had appointed managers with relevant skills and competency.

“There are a few where senior positions are still vacant. We therefore have taken a decision that all municipalities with senior positions that are vacant should fill those positions immediately and within three months,” he said.

Zikalala said required skills and expertise would not be compromised when filling those positions.

“We noted that there are municipalities filled with people with no required skills and we believe we should take serious steps.”

Uthukela District Municipality was identified as having failed to participate in the municipal skills audit and it was noted that most of its employees lacked the required skills.

Zikalala said the municipalities were also instructed to spend their capital infrastructure budgets in full, especially the municipal infrastructure grant.

He added that eThekwini Metro and Msunduzi were among municipalities ordered to embark on slum clearance programmes and deal with land invasion in the province.

Mkhize said: “A team consisting of community safety and human settlement will work with municipalities to prevent land invasion.”

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