'I have a job to do' - Makhura on why Emfuleni was placed under administration

2018-06-11 18:56
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Mduduzi Ndzingi, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Mduduzi Ndzingi, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said he had no choice but to place the Emfuleni municipality under administration, as it was battling to deliver basic services and its financial state was deteriorating.

Makhura placed the cash-strapped municipality under provincial administration for six months, including taking control over its finances, despite a strong push from within the ANC to stop him.

READ: Makhura confirms cash-strapped Emfuleni municipality placed under administration

"I am premier of this province, I have a job to do… The day that governance will come to a standstill because there is a conference of governing party will be a sad day for people of this country," he said.

Makhura has faced criticism from within the party, with ANC Youth League members accusing him of placing the municipality under administration to undercut the Mayor Jacob Khawe’s campaign to become party provincial secretary.  

The ANC in the province is due to hold an elective conference in July, with Makhura expected to stand uncontested. Khawe is contesting current provincial secretary Hope Papo, who is a known Makhura ally.

Khawe’s supporters argued that he had only been appointed mayor six months ago, while the financial state of the municipality had been in crisis for years.

Khawe replaced Simon Mofokeng as mayor after he faced allegations of grooming a 14-year-old girl. Mofokeng had been deployed from the Sedibeng district municipality to help turn around Emfuleni’s dire financial state.

"I can’t sit back. If it [the municipality] collapses and there are no services there and the community rises, and then later I must explain that I was afraid to intervene when the constitution allows me to do so," Makhura said.  

He explained that provincial government had instituted low-level interventions in Emfuleni, including providing support, but that it was not working. Instead, the situation was "deteriorating".

Emfuleni owes Eskom and Rand Water money, with both threatening to shut down services. Earlier this year, Rand Water reduced water pressure to the municipality – leaving some residents without water.

'No municipality will collapse on my watch'

The municipality had entered into repayment agreements with the water and electricity utilities but was failing to meet its obligations.

The townships are also dotted with heaps of rubbish as refuse was not collected and some roads, including in the suburbs, had potholes.

However, Makhura said they were not considering the dissolution of the municipality. He refused to give details of its financial state.

"If you don’t have enough revenue, passing budget is an academic exercise. They don’t have sufficient revenue base to support that budget," he said.

"No municipality will collapse on my watch," he added.

Makhura was expected to address the media on Monday, along with Khawe, but he said Kwawe had been unable to attend because of "technicalities".

Khawe resigned last week in retaliation against the municipality being placed under administration, but later withdrew his resignation after meeting with ANC provincial officials.

At the time, it was expected that Makhura would not go ahead with placing Emfuleni under administration.

Makhura insisted that Khawe was ready to work with the provincial government, which has five work streams that were aimed at prioritising service delivery and enhancing revenue collection, as well as engaging with Eskom and Rand Water to agree to debt repayment terms.

He warned businesses that had failed to pay for services that they would be raided.

Read more on:    anc  |  david makhura  |  johannesburg

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