She delivered a heated speech during her office’s Coordinating Forum meeting.
Premier Refilwe Mtshweni has announced that the Steve Tshwete municipality in Middelburg will be expected to show the other Mpumalanga municipalities their “strategies” of clean governance.
She spoke during a special Premier’s Coordinating Forum at the Nkangala district municipality Wednesday this week.
She also lauded the Mbombela municipality and said it will also join Steve Tshwete in “sharing” with the other municipalities how things are done.
A week ago, Mtshweni announced that eMalahleni, Govan Mbeki, Thaba Chweu, Lekwa and Msukaligwa local municipalities had been placed under financial rescue.
She said these five Mpumalanga municipalities were found to be defaulting on payments of their creditors and their current expenditure also found to be exceeding their actual current revenue, incurring operating deficit in most recent financial years.
She said this “recurring failure has impacted on their ability to procure goods and services as well as providing the much-needed services to communities”.
Wednesday this week Mtshweni told local and provincial government officials who attended her meeting at the Nkangala council chamber that both Steve Tshwete and Mbombela would be requested to share their strategies of keeping up with money.
“This is an endeavour aimed at sharing best practices in an effort to ensure that our municipalities move away from being largely grant dependent towards a sustainability based model,” the Premier said.
She said her government is “acutely aware” of the socio-economic situations of the various municipalities and in which the high unemployment rates led to low revenue collection capacity on the part of municipalities.
Officials are urged to update the system of unemployed and employed residents “to enable the provision of basic services to the truly needy”.
“And also ensuring that municipalities do not exhaust resources attempting to recoup remuneration for services from people unable to pay for the services,” Mtshweni said.
She said they were also noting the unwillingness by qualifying residents to pay for municipal services.
“In scenarios such as this the municipalities should invoke the suspension of services as well as debt collection in order to compel payment for services,” the Premier said.
Municipalities must also ensure that the quality of the billing is consistent with the services consumed, she said.
She said incorrect billing created the impression amongst the residents that municipalities were unable to “reconcile their books and determine what they are owed”.
“This ultimately results in wilful disregard of municipal bills and it is prudent to note that for any revenue enhancement strategy to work optimally, services must be rendered,” she said.
She warned the officials about a recent government report that showed if residents were not satisfied with the services rendered they found it easy to boycott payment of rates and taxes.
(edited by MLM)
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