Councillors the culprit

2020-02-05 06:01
A refuse disposal truck in the Bloemfontein Central Business District. The administrative team appointed to salvage the Mangaung Metro Municipality will have to focus on waste collection. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

A refuse disposal truck in the Bloemfontein Central Business District. The administrative team appointed to salvage the Mangaung Metro Municipality will have to focus on waste collection. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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The bankrupt Mangaung Metro Municipality’s own councillors collectively owed R506 400 by 30 June 2019.

Evident from the annual report tabled during a council meeting on Thursday (30/01), it constitutes only outstanding debt of 90 days and longer.

Hans Britz, DA council member, attended a special council meeting in the presence of the administration team appointed to salvage the Mangaung Metro.

He said both councillors and the government should set an example, but fail to do so.

He also highlighted two issues with which to start the financial recovery process.

Since May 2016, the total outstanding debt to the metro increased by R2,82 billion to R6,302 billion, an average of R67,16 million per month.

Government owes the most. Its debt has increased from R3,18 million by R1,08 billion to R1,399 billion – an increase of 339%.

This shocking decline occurred in the current council’s term.

“Government and councillors must always keep their accounts up to date,” said Britz.

“Only then can residents be put under pressure to pay their overdue accounts.”

Britz highlighted staffing costs as one of the big contributors to the current financial crisis.

He said during the first year of her term, Olly Mlamleli, executive mayor of the Mangaung Metro Municipality, created approximately 70 jobs for ANC cadres in her office, for which no provision was made in the budget.

This contributed to staff costs increasing from R1,44 billion in May 2016 to R2,065 billion in December 2019.

In the current board’s first year, staff costs increased by 21,18%.

“Mlamleli also had a once-off gratuity of R50,177 million for staff approved and paid, without any provision for this in the budget,” Britz said.

Britz pointed out to the council that unreliable budgets are being drawn up annually, resulting in the DA voting against it every time.

He said the ANC has an obsession with cadre deployment, which results in incompetent councillors and officials governing the municipality.

The ANC Mangaung Metro council is one of the best examples of this.

The DA admits there are also competent staff, but believes their functionality is being restricted.

Neither Mlamleli nor any ANC councillor reacted to Britz’s allegations, but the ANC councillors repeatedly said the DA does the same in municipalities they govern.

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