November 17, 2018

News:

Magashule rebukes Mohokare over debt

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Premier Ace Magashule has lambasted the Mohokare Local Municipality in Zastron for failing to solve its debt crisis. He said the province could not keep bailing
them out.
This local municipality, which is situated in the impoverished Xhariep district, faces debt of more than R11-million.
The spotlight fell on the municipality’s finances during the premier’s Hlasela campaign visit to the area this week.
Magashule told the municipality to come up with solutions to reduce its debt burden.
According to municipal manager Thabo Panyane, the municipality had a roll-over of R12.5-million for the 2010/2011 financial year.
“This deficit came as a result of the municipality’s inability to pay its creditors and commitments that were from other financial years.”
Panyane admitted that the roll-over was as a result of Municipal Infrastructural Grant (MIG) funds, budgeted for operational purposes, that were mismanaged.
Some of the MIG funds that were misused include the upgrading of the Zastron waste water treatment works, which has not been completed, and the construction of the Rouxville road that leads to Roleleyathunya. This has also not been completed.
He said the Rouxville bucket eradication plans were put on hold due to the lack of water in the municipality.  He also mentioned that the municipality is currently upgrading the Caledon water scheme, which is out on tender for electrical and mechanical works.
Panyane said the oxidation ponds in Smithfield are also awaiting approval of the budget.
“The previous management of Mohokare Municipality left the municipality in a financial crisis. An application for the roll-over of R12.5-million was also not approved by the National Treasury. As a result, the municipality must return the unspent conditional grant to the National Revenue Fund.”
Panyane said if the National Treasury takes back its equitable share, the municipality will not be able to pay people’s salaries, run the municipality, pay for services, and pay creditors. He added that in order for the municipality to get back on its feet, it needs R20-million from the provincial Treasury.
According to Magashule, the provincial government does not have money to assist the municipality and as a result, the officials should come up with cost reduction measures
to solve the crisis.
Panyane, however, said that the provincial COGTA and Treasury have vowed to assist the municipality with its financial problems. “They showed commitment to assist us but up to so far there has not been any commitment in the form of financial assistance to the municipality.” As a result of the debt problem, the Mohokare Municipality is unable to provide certain basic services to its residents.  These include sanitation, water, and reparation of roads.

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