The Democratic Alliance marched to the Emfuleni municipality building on Thursday to call on Mayor Mahole Mofokeng to resign. The march is driven by complaints about the municipality’s debt and poor service delivery in Emfuleni, which is in Gauteng’s Sedibeng District Municipality.
“There is a complete failure of service delivery in this town because the ANC government, led by the mayor, doesn’t care spending public money in the interest of the public good. You have massive debts to service providers like Eskom,” said Anneke Scheepers, DA Gauteng’s communications manager.
Scheepers said the council tried to increase the municipality’s overdraft “to something to the tune of R500-million to cover running costs at the municipality”. She also said the municipality had an outstanding revenue from rent-payers in Emfuleni that had not been collected by the municipality and this was driving poor service delivery.
Lebo Mofokeng, the mayoral spokesperson for Mofokeng, said in a statement: “It is unfortunate that the DA will resort to unfounded and baseless allegations more than facts. The executive mayor remains responsible and accountable for political oversight over the expenditure of the municipality.”
Lebo Mofokeng said the mayor had a track record of “three consecutive clean audits from previous deployment at the Sedibeng District Municipality”, which “speaks for itself”.
She added that the municipality has had to take out money in recent years to keep the Emfuleni running. “In 2010, Emfuleni was operating without an overdraft to sustain itself. In 2011 the municipality needed R70-million to make ends meet, which grew to R90-million in 2012, R150-million in 2013, R192-million in 2014, R541-million in 2015 and R354-million in 2016, while the municipality had an operating surplus of R265-million in 2008, built after financial injection by Project Consolidate introduced in 2004.”
She admitted that the municipality’s debt was growing year-on-year, standing at about R5.5-billion – with 81% attributed to residential debt and another R950-million is owed by businesses and other debtors. She said that this large debt made it difficult for the municipality to keep up with its payment schedule to its two biggest service providers, Eskom and Rand Water.
“We are hard at work improving our revenue collection efforts to bring in much- needed financial muscle. The executive of Emfuleni has introduced what we call a ‘Four Pillars Financial Turn-Around Strategy’, which seeks among others to improve collections,” Lebo Mofokeng said.
“A revenue task team has been formed where all clusters report on their respective collections rates on all revenues owed to the municipality against the projected figures for the year to date. The implementation of the tariffs model developed through the assistance of Cogta [co-operative governance and traditional affairs department] Gauteng is underway to mitigate against tariffs that are not cost reflective,” she added.