Metro councillors owe R1m in municipal arrears

Two ANC metro mayors are among the 121 councillors who owe almost R1 million in unpaid municipal bills.

The councillors owed the money in the financial year ending June 2010. Several referred City Press this week to municipal spokespeople, while others failed to respond to enquiries.

Mangaung’s mayor, Playfair Morule, and Nelson Mandela Bay’s mayor, Zanoxolo Wayile, still have outstanding balances on their municipal accounts – Morule’s is R23 562 but Wayile’s is a paltry R377.

Mangaung ANC councillor Bojosi Makoa tops the list of defaulting officials, with an outstanding bill of R105?945.

Makoa referred City Press to council spokesperson Qondile Khedama, who did not answer any questions.

Morule is a member of the ANC’s national executive committee and former Free State finance MEC, while Wayile is a one-time Cosatu presidential candidate and ANC Nelson Mandela Bay regional deputy chairperson.

They are expected to be the ruling party’s mayoral candidates in the upcoming municipal polls in both municipalities.

The 121 councillors include Eastern Cape Human Settlements, Safety and Liaison MEC and provincial ANC deputy secretary Helen August, a former Nelson Mandela Bay councillor, with a R242 bill.

The worst defaulters include:
» ANC councillor Bojosi Makoa (R105?945);

» ?Ex-Johannesburg ANC councillor Virginia Volker (R66?561);

» ?Ekurhuleni ANC councillor Shadi Mashinini (R49?926);

» Tshwane ANC councillor Ntombizokwenzani?Matjokana (R48?148);

» ?Johannesburg ANC councillor Thapelo Dlamini (R37?103);

» DA councillor Sharon Sabbagh (R32?778);

» Ex-Mangaung councillor WF Human (R28?784);

» ?Ekurhuleni ANC councillor Mtumeleni Ndita (R17?502).

Dlamini owed the City of Johannesburg R37?103 by the end of June last year while Sabbagh’s bill was R32?778.

Both had been in arrears for longer than three months.Volker’s debt has accumulated since 2005, when it was R5?412

No councillor is in arrears in Cape Town, while Ethekwini (Durban) did not provide the information in its annual report as required by the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Buffalo City councillors owe R870, but the defaulters are not named.

According to the act, a municipality’s annual financial statements must include any arrears owed by individual councillors for rates or services.

Ethekwini spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng did not respond to City Press’s enquiries.

Ndita claimed he knew nothing about the bill, and referred enquiries to Ekurhuleni spokesperson Zweli Dlamini.

Nelson Mandela Bay spokesperson Roland Williams said councillors in arrears, who make no arrangements to pay or do not adhere to payment arrangements, have their services disconnected, blocked or restricted.

Action is taken in terms of the municipality’s debt collection and suspension of services procedures.

Just a few municipalities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, soon-to-be-established metros Buffalo City and Mangaung – are owed more than R37 billion in total by residents, businesses and government, according to the National Treasury.

The municipalities’ 842 councillors earn a combined total of R283 million a year.

Part-time and full-time councillors earn between R158 928 and R964 255, depending on seniority (mayor, mayoral committee member or ordinary councillor).

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said the party expected councillors not to be in debt to municipalities, to ensure good governance.

“They are setting the wrong precedent,” Khoza said.

He said they could not tell communities to pay if they themselves were in arrears.

“Even blue-collar workers are required to pay in order to re-finance operations of councils,” Khoza said.

Khoza also came to the defence of some councillors, saying some were not full-time and did not earn much.

“I am not making excuses,” he said, however.

DA spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko did not respond to City Press’s questions. sent to her on Wednesday.

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