Lack of skill and the will to change governance around are blamed for the alarming mismanagement.
Mpumalanga’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs has heard that the eMalahleni and Govan Mbeki local municipalities are the province’s worst performing municipalities in running debt collection systems.
Mpumalanga municipalities have been forced to cancel R6.4bn of its R8.4bn debt.
This debt includes the non-payment of rates and taxes, water and electricity, Fin24 reports.
The eMalahleni municipality is owed R3.6bn by the residents and Govan Mbeki in Secunda is owed R1.2bn.
DA co-operative governance shadow MEC James Masango said there is no “political will” to correct the situation and improve debt collection.
The police had to use rubber bullets as PRET members began blocking an EFF march in the area.
The Practical Radical Economic Transformation group of Mpumalanga may also be engaged in a fight for economic freedom for the majority of black South Africans but they are not friends with the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Thursday this week the group stood in the way of EFF members who were marching to the eMalahleni municipality to submit a memorandum of demands to mayor Linah Malatjie.
Led by provincial leader Collen Sedibe, the EFF headed to the municipality in order to complain about lack of service delivery, alleged corruption and nepotism when they met PRET members who were singing struggle songs on the street of the municipality and waiting for them.
“They will not pass here and go to the municipality. Let them go back,” one PRET member was heard shouting as the EFF approached and both groups began to mix in a confrontational way.
Cops had to intervene and form a human shield between both groups but when they could not be able to control the violent PRET group they began using rubber bullets, firing hard at PRET members.
Some PRET members during the stand-off with police.
The EFF had applied from authorities in order to stage the march to the eMalahleni municipality and the PRET gathering in front of the municipality building was illegal, one cop told the 013NEWS reporter.
PRET members began throwing stones back at cops, forcing CBD shops to close down as cops chased them with rubber bullets.
A vehicle from Weng Family Supermarket was torched by PRET members.
It is still not clear why the PRET members were disrupting the EFF march but one PRET member said the EFF were “coming late in order to take things from us”.
“There are a lot of issues we have been fighting for in this area and where was the EFF?” he said, “we are closer to achieve on those issues and the EFF is coming to hijack the issues,” he claimed.
Clad in their trademark yellow t-shirts bearing the face of president Cyril Ramaphosa, members of the group said they were there to “defend the municipality”.
Prior to their march, the EFF went to Dingindoda on Wednesday evening and told the tenants that they would help them in the fight between eMalahleni Housing Company boss George Xaba and businessman Themba ‘Masofa’ Sgudla who is also the leader of PRET.
The power-cuts will affect a lot of areas in the area.
Power utility Eskom has announced it will begin rolling out load-shedding in the eMalahleni area.
These are called “emergency load-shedding”.
Friday last week Eskom said ten of its power stations have critically low stockpiles – with 5 having less than 10 days worth of fuel.
The load-shedding is also due to deteriorating power plants “but also to unplanned events”, such as the explosion at Lethabo power station in the Free State in early October 2018, which took the whole unit out of service.
Eskom said it needs more than 4-million tons to fill up coal supplies at 10 of its power stations. It said more than 1 million tons have already been secured.
She announced a “financial recovery plan” is being implemented.
Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni has announced that 5 municipalities will be placed under financial rescue.
Mtshweni spoke in Skukuza during her government’s Lekgotla.
She said eMalahleni, Govan Mbeki, Thaba Chweu, Lekwa and Msukaligwa local municipalities have all been placed under a financial rescue plan.
She said as government they area “acutely aware” of the challenges that the Mpumalanga municipalities face.
“As you are aware, we have had to recently intervene in the Emalahleni local municipality in accordance with section 139 of the Municipal Finance Management Act,” she said this week.
“A task team led by provincial treasury and encompassing specialists in every element of the financial management ecosystem has been dispatched to the municipality and are currently working tirelessly to develop and implement a financial recovery plan,” Mtshweni said.
She added this was an effort to ensure that “we collectively address the issues of financial mismanagement” in municipalities as this was affecting service delivery.
She spoke at the Skukuza rest camp during a 3-day provincial government Lekgotla.
Mtshweni told government officials that a Lekgotla was meant to convene officials “in order to ensure that we centrally coordinate the programmes of our government in an effort to ensure that the programmes of the government are concomitant with priority areas aimed at tackling the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality whilst ensuring that our people continue to have access to the most basic of services”.
“The objective of this Lekgotla is two-fold. The first being that we must ensure thatÂ we continue to align intergovernmental relations with the priority areas outlined above. Secondly, it is important to take cognisance of the fact that we must outline and collate our achievements , as Government, as we approach the end of this 5th democratically elected administration,” the Premier said.