The local Sherriff again attached furniture and vehicles of the Gariep Municipality on Friday (7 September) after pension payments from employees that should have been paid over were not done. The chaos in this municipality continues despite a visit by the Premier, Noxolo Kiviet, to the area a week ago.
With on-going weekly attachments of municipal assets it is clear this municipality is in in dire financial straits and needs urgent provincial intervention.
The Gariep Municipality is bankrupt! The Municipal Manager must be sacked forthwith.
Dacre Haddon from the D emocratic Alliance has written to the MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, asking him to invoke Section 139 of the Constitution. This provision allows for a provincial government to take over the affairs of a financially ailing municipality.
The lack of decisive political intervention from the Premier, the MEC and his department has contributed to this latest financial crisis.
Gariep is a poor municipality with 65 % of their residents being indigent.
Two weeks ago municipal vehicles were attached due to non-payments while a company who recently supplied computers to the municipality has also not been paid.
Previous problems in Gariep include last year when an amount of R2, 5 million was owed to Tension Overhead Electrical for electricity purchases it was unable to service.
An overdraft award of R7, 5 million from ABSA when council agreed only to R2 million is another past financial blunder of this municipality.
Council wanted to borrow a further R20 million and council was not informed as to the implications this would have on rates and taxes.
The only way to solve the problems of Gariep Municipality is to ensure that a capable and competent Municipal Manager and staff are seconded to stabilise this sinking ship until a turnaround rescue plan can be put in place.
The Democratic Alliance will play a vigilant and enabling role to ensure that Gariep Municipality is placed back on a sound financial position.