NEWS & ANALYSIS

Makhura must step in and resolve Emfuleni crisis – FF Plus

Party asks what municipality spends money collected from ratepayers for water

Gauteng premier must step in and resolve Emfuleni crisis

12 April 2018

The Gauteng premier, David Makhura, must take decisive action to address the crisis in Emfuleni (Evaton, Sebokeng, Vaal Oewer, Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging). Things have gotten totally out of hand after the municipality was thrown into disorder and is now unable to pay its account of R419 million to Rand Water.

Rand Water announced that they are going to close the taps to Emfuleni for the fourth time this year. In January this year, the municipality entered into an agreement with Rand Water to pay the outstanding debt, but the municipality did not honour the agreement.

The FF Plus in Gauteng would like to know why Emfuleni is not paying its outstanding debt, while the mayor, Jakob Khawe, and other municipal officials are being paid big salaries seeing as the Emfuleni municipality is classified as a grade 6 municipality, which makes it equivalent to a metro.

The FF Plus would also like to know on what the municipality spends the money that it receives from loyal tax payers every month.

The municipality’s excuse that many consumers in the area are unable to pay their accounts due to the high unemployment rate is untrue, because the municipal reports indicate that it receives an income from 61% of the tax payers on a monthly basis. During the months of June and July in 2017, the income that the municipality received from tax payers alone was R402 million.

The FF Plus is also concerned about the fact that Emfuleni only spent 63% of its budget in the past 2017/18 financial year. This is according to a report that was presented to the Gauteng Legislature on 26 March 2018.

At the beginning of the year, the National Treasury allocated an amount of R181 645 000 of which Emfuleni only spent R113 923 000. Thus, 37% of the budget allocated for infrastructure was not spent.

That explains why the employees of the Emfuleni water unit are striking because they have been waiting for protective overalls, gumboots and gloves for more than two years. It also explains why eleven sewage pump stations have not been functioning since yesterday and why there is untreated sewage running into the Vaalriver.

Premier Makhura must step in to resolve the crisis straightaway, otherwise Eskom might also decide to suspend its services as a result of the outstanding account of R311 million, which is due 16 April 2018.

Emfuleni already has outstanding debt amounting to R170 million to Eskom. Some of the amounts are due for payment between 19 April 2018 and 5 May 2018.

The FF Plus has asked to have talks with the new MEC for Local Governance in Gauteng, Uhuru Moila, to discuss the problems relating to the Emfuleni crisis and Mogale City.

The FF Plus is of the opinion that should the premier not step in with the Emfuleni crisis, the municipality will soon be plunged into utter darkness and drought and that could bring about a humanitarian health crisis.

Issued by Philip van Staden, FF Plus member: Gauteng Legislature, 12 April 2018