Kouga owes Millions for water

The Democratic Alliance councillors in both Kouga and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM) are fully aware of the acknowledgement of debt signed by the Kouga chief financial officer (CFO) in September 2011 when Kouga agreed to pay off R 500,000 per month to cover the debt plus the amount for the current consumption.

At the time, the DA in the NMBM calculated that it could at the water usage rate of Kouga at the time, take more than 4 years to pay off the debt and get the current balance back on the 30 day system as prescribed by the Municipal Finance Management Act.

On 4 May 2012, a Kouga DA delegation met with provincial Minister Mlibo Qoboshiyane to discuss Kouga’s outstanding debt which, at that point, as at 3 May amounted to R 123 278 million. The NMBM water debt balance on 3 May 2012 was R 24 million.

The statement by Ms Randall, municipal spokesperson for Kouga, is correct if she calculated the 16 months being the term to date of the acknowledgement of debt where Kouga paid off R 500 000 each month. The question has to asked why is there no decrease in the debt from 3 May 2012 until December 2012?

The problem is that the Kouga mayoral committee does not submit any financial statements to the finance portfolio committee.

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“The Kouga mayor so easily refers to the debt as “inherited from a previous regime”, but what he neglects to say is that the previous regime before the 2011 elections was also an ANC regime and the finance chairperson was Cllr Vernon Stuurman for the period before the elections and still holds the same position after the elections. So this ANC regime is completely responsible for the dreadful financial woes of Kouga Municipality”, said Elza Van Lingen, the leader of the DA in the Kouga.

The Churchill dam overflowing. Photo: Clive Wright

“The request that NMBM must write off the interest on the loan is ridiculous. The NMBM also has financial difficulties and has to pay interest on loans and overdrafts. This amount of bank or loan interest in the Metro must then be paid by the residents of the Metro – how unfair” added van Lingen.

“The MEC for local government, Hon Mlibo Qhobshiyane will also be informed of the situation and will be requested to reconsider the Section 154 intervention he implemented in Kouga as it clearly is not conducive to an improved financial status in the Kouga administration.

The taxpayers cannot afford to allow their hard earned monies to be squandered by irresponsible financial administration” concluded Van Lingen.

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