DA trying to score points ahead of elections – municipal mayor

2010-09-30 07:13

Claims by the Democratic Alliance (DA) detailing how the Gauteng municipality of Nokeng allegedly fell apart under the administration of the ANC must be dismissed as “mischievous and as cheap political point-scoring”, the municipality’s mayor, Anna Digoro, said.

Digoro said that when the ANC took over the administration of the municipality in 2006, it was faced with “a very depressing picture of serious cash flow challenges”, the absence of administration and financial management systems, and “a chronic history of disclaimers”.

“The statement released by the Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament James Lorimer must be dismissed as mischievous and cheap political point-scoring ahead of the local government elections,” Digoro said.

“The DA administration suffocated the urban ratepayers by charging them 9c in a rand to balance the budget and grossly neglected to provide basic services to an estimated 8 000 households in Steve Bikoville.

“The RDP houses the DA claims to have built in Refilwe are now falling apart. Service providers were given verbal agreements to render services to the municipality”.

Digoro said that since 2006, the municipality had “completed the development of a strategic plan”, a “responsive organisational structure” and the placement of the staff in terms of the new structure.

She said the council had mobilised funding from the treasury, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and external parties such as the Cullinan Diamond Mine to “mitigate” some of the challenges.

Other achievements were the establishment of a fully operational customer care unit to implement credit controls, the establishment of administrative, financial and performance management systems, and the acquisition of land to eradicate informal settlements.

Digoro said the municipality had worked closely with the auditor-general towards a clean audit, and had protected farm workers against illegal evictions and ensured that all informal settlements had basic services.

She said that as the municipality stabilised in the latter part of 2008, a rates boycott campaign was intensified by the ratepayers’ associations operating in the municipality to “suffocate” the council into submission.

“The local magistrate’s office was used to prevent municipal officials from implementing credit control measures to defaulters. This is the story that has aggravated the cash flow crisis.

“The restricted revenue base of the municipality was the compelling reason that motivated the Gauteng government to put it under administration.”

Nokeng municipality will cease to exist after the 2011 local government elections and will be merged with Tshwane metro.

Lorimer said on Tuesday that Nokeng had fallen into “crisis”.

He said the municipality, which was run by the DA between 2001 and 2006 before being lost to the ANC, presented a “compelling” case study ahead of the municipal elections in 2011.

Lorimer said the DA-run municipality built 1 970 RDP houses during its tenure using provincial grants. However, two weeks ago, the province presented a letter to the ANC-run council’s political leaders ordering the bankrupt municipality to be placed under administration.

“When the ANC took power in 2006, it purchased a black 240E Mercedes (with blue light) and a dark green Audi A4.”

Along with refurbishing her office at a cost of R135 000 in 2006, the new ANC mayor flew business class to conferences and enjoyed overnight stays in top Pretoria hotels, a mere 30km from the town, Lorimer said.

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