Intervention: Local government MEC China Dodovu. Picture: Thabo Rantlha
Residents of Matlosana local municipality and government departments in Klerksdorp have been urged to pay their municipal rates to avoid services like electricity being switched off.
This came after power utility Eskom threatened to turn-off its supplies and plunge the city into darkness after the municipality accrued close to R150m in arrears.
It took the intervention of local government MEC China Dodovu who pleaded with Eskom to rescind its power blackout notice for the municipality.
The municipality’s bulk electricity account stood at R141390759 as of December but indications are that R68m has been paid and efforts were under way to foot the remaining debt.
The increase in arrears was attributed mainly to an increase in tariffs and demand fluctuation during winter.
Dodovu said that the municipality could afford to pay up all its debts if residents and government paid up their accounts.
“It has been established that the municipality is owed R940m of which R42m is owed by government departments.
“My department has had several engagements with the municipality in order to find a solution to the situation before it got worse.
“It also assisted the municipality to develop of a recovery plan including recovering government debt.
“If the situation was to be left unattended, it would obviously have serious dire consequences to not only the economy of the City of Matlosana, but also that of the entire province,” Dodovu said.
He said that follow-up meeting would be held with the municipal executive and the departments of public works, health, education and finance to solicit support in pursuit to the payment of R42m owed by government departments.
“My department would further assist the municipality to appoint a qualified individual to develop a realistic and time-bound turnaround plan around the municipal financial recovery plan and also to capacity official in the municipal finance section. R20m has already been paid to Midvaal Company, however, further consultations to the balance owed is ongoing,” he said.
The MEC called on municipal officials to work together as a team, develop partnerships and create a better and conducive platform to ensure that improved mechanism and platform are put in place so as to further encourage our citizens to pay for services.
In return, City of Matlosana mayor Mike Kgauwe committed to assist the department by conducting an imbizo in relation to the challenge so as to get a buy-in from residents.