Mettler slashes millions in fees

2010-09-03 00:00

THE “sloppy management” that has seen the Msunduzi Municipality overpaying millions of rands on insurance and bank fees will soon end as part of the latest cost-saving steps taken by the city’s turnaround team.

Administrator Johann Mettler said the team has reduced the insured value of municipal buildings from R8,5 billion to R3 billion. This has allowed annual premiums to come down from R3,7 million per year to less than R2 million. It also reduced risk cover to the minimum, cancelling payment of R500 000 per annum.

Mettler told the executive committee that the municipality was paying bank charges of R2,4 million per year, which he described as “ridiculous”.

“No one had gone to the bankers to review the bank charges. Even I as a private individual review my bank charges. Why was this not done by this large institution?” Mettler asked.

Other cost-saving measures being investigated include payments on software licences and why cost-of-living allowances were paid to 200 non-employees of the municipality. Mettler said this amounted to R24 000 per month, an issue that was uncovered only last week.

The Democratic Alliance’s Bill Lambert said Mettler’s description of “sloppy management” is the understatement of the year.

“This was much more than sloppy management,” he said.

Mettler’s good news was that Operation Pitbull — the clampdown on electricity thieves — is netting about R1 million per day. The operation has collected over R9 million from the start of the clampdown until August 30.

Government departments have also been paying up. The municipality had invoiced government departments R4,6 million on their utility bills for the past month and received R17,6 million.

Mettler said this showed that there is movement on the arrears. However, the municipality is not letting down its guard and will disconnect government departments when warranted.

The Exco meeting adjourned early for members to attend the provincial legislature where the joint committees of finance, public accounts and co-operative governance presented their assessment of municipalities.

Belinda Scott, chairperson of the finance portfolio committee, urged the national Treasury to consider a cash injection for Msunduzi Municipality, saying there is no way the municipality will become sustainabile on just its current revenue enhancement drive.

The national Public Works Department got a drubbing as the worst defaulter on municipal debt. Scott had asked the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, to deal with the recalcitrance of this department to pay its debt.

The MPLs also criticised poor forensic investigations within municipalities.

The Cooperative Governance Department was told to be more pro­active regarding the quality of such investigations and the time it takes to implement the recommendations, and to take action against errant officials.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.