Kopanong: DA asked to fight for service delivery – Patricia Kopane

FState PL says intervention by national govt could be only way of saving municipality from complete collapse

Kopanong collapse: Community asks DA to fight for service delivery

28 June 2018

Today the DA conducted a follow-up oversight inspection of Kopanong Municipality and met with community leaders. The DA has subsequently taken up the call of the community to have the municipality placed under administration.

We will therefore be writing to Free State MEC of Cooperative Governance (Gogta), Oupa Khoabane, to intervene and place this struggling municipality under administration.

This ANC-led municipality has been in crisis for some time and the DA believes that this intervention by the national government could be the only way of saving it from complete collapse.

Kopanong municipality owes Bloem Water more than R250 million. Water cuts in the area have led to the partial closure of the Diamond Hospital and the closure of Boaramelo Combined School, Saint Lawrence Primary School and Middlebaar Intermediate School, severely compromising patients and learners in the area.

Last week municipal employees went on a strike to protest against the municipality's inability to pay their third-party contributions such as medical aid and pension funds. Non-payment of contributions leaves members vulnerable because they are not entitled to any health, death, disability or funeral benefits when their contributions remain unpaid.

The DA will therefore also request Finance MEC Elsabe Rockman to instruct the municipality to engage with service providers to ensure that none of these benefits are forfeited due to the municipality's non-payment.

In the 2016/17 financial year the municipality incurred a net loss of more than R88 million and the municipality’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by R275 million. This points to a complete breakdown in financial management in the municipality.

To ensure a successful intervention, the administrator needs to:

- Provide proper service delivery to residents;

- Adhere to proper financial management and accounting procedures;

- Pay specific attention to water supply infrastructure;

- Ensure that waste removal services are in place and effective; and

- Rectify the billing and revenue collection systems.

The DA will be willing to work with the administrator and offer our full cooperation to address residents’ service delivery concerns. Basic needs such as water provision must be prioritised.

The DA will closely monitor the situation to ensure that those responsible for the municipality’s financial woes are held accountable.

Kopanong residents desperately need Change that only the DA can bring.

Issued by Patricia KopaneDA Free State Provincial Leader, 28 June 2018