Opposition parties call for report on city finances

2010-01-25 00:00

OPPOSITION parties in Msunduzi Municipality believe that managers Rob Haswell and Roy Bridgemohan will be doing themselves and council a favour by providing a comprehensive report on the state of the city’s finances.

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Dolo Zondi said the report needs to give details of how much the municipality receives in income in the last quarter, how much it has in its reserves, and hence what its state of liquidity is.

“I am very worried that once we start eating into our reserves it will spell trouble,” he said.

Zondi said a municipality the size of Msunduzi, without a large rates base and with high unemployment has to be very careful how it spends its money.

The Democratic Alliance’s Roger Ashe said that in view of the rumours of a cash-flow crisis, he believes that Haswell and Bridgemohan need to report to council’s executive committee urgently.

“We were assured by the municipal manager in December that all payments owed by council had been paid up to date, and he mentioned Eskom specifically.”

Several councillors have confirmed that the municipality is going after defaulters who have not paid their rates and utility bills and that nobody is being spared, including government departments. They say the programme is being assisted by national Treasury, which has seconded a senior official to the municipality as an adviser on revenue collection and debt management.

More than four years, ago the municipality outsourced its debt- collection to two companies. At the time, The Witness revealed that the directors of these companies included the wives and family members of local ANC luminaries.

While the debt-collection tenders were supposed to come up for renewal in March 2008, that hasn’t happened.

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