The sheriff of the court has spent the last two days in the Gariep Municipality in the Eastern Cape attaching every movable asset of the municipal council – from computers to vehicles. The council has been left with a single computer service billing and receiving rates.
This move came after several creditors obtained judgement against the municipality for unpaid accounts.
With no equipment to conduct its daily business, service delivery in this municipality is grinding to a halt. The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi must place this municipality under administration.
Gariep is a poor municipality with approximately 65% of their residents being considered poor. Whilst this poses a challenge for charging and collecting revenues for municipal services, the mismanagement of the municipal administration has contributed to the municipality’s financial woes.
Some weeks ago, warrants of Execution against the beleaguered municipality were issued for unpaid debt.
Unpaid accounts include the following:
• Eskom bulk electricity R6.5 million (outstanding for 150 days)
• PAYE deductions: R2 million (outstanding for 1 year);
• Pensions/retirement deductions: R4.1 million (outstanding for over 1 year);
• Trade creditors: R7.6 million (outstanding for over 1 year); and
• Auditor General: R2.1 (outstanding for 1 year)
The Eastern Cape MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, has refused to intervene in the municipality in terms of the provisions of section 139 of the Constitution.
When a province fails to intervene then it’s the responsibility of the national minister to do so.
This shows that the Eastern Cape is incapable of rescuing failing councils.
Minister Baloyi must intervene.