New budget causes raucous

Property rate tariffs have also been raised while many residents have been waiting for the outcome of their valuation objections since 2016.

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With the election over and done, everyone has calmed down and forgotten about most of the problems, or rather they are trying to. The truth still remains that the Govan Mbeki Municipality is in considerable debt with Rand Water and Eskom.
In the municipal meeting on Wednesday, 29 May, the Executive Mayor, Thandi Ngxonono, announced the new Mayoral Committee and also announced that instead of six members. there would be seven.
The following member were welcomed to the MMC: Ben Makola – Finance, Sakhile Mahlangu – Technical and Engineering Services: Water and Sanitation, Dan Nhlapo – Technical and Engineering Services: Roads and Electricity, Nomkhosi Zulu – Special Projects, Anthony Makhaye – Community Services, Ethel Nkosi – Planning and Development and Betty Ndaba – Corporate Services. These members will be on a three-month trial basis.
The MMC was not that much of a concern as the approval of the 2019/2020 budget. Opposition parties opposed this budget but were outvoted by the ANC led council. The following statement was received from Cllr Ciska Jordaan of the Democratic Alliance: “The DA in Govan Mbeki has vehemently opposed the approval of the 2019/2020 budget that has been adopted by the ANC-led council on 29 May.
Over and above the ESKOM and Rand Water debt that plagues this municipality, the unfunded budget contains a R309 million deficit – which is currently predicted to remain unfunded at least for the next 3 financial years. It becomes more and more evident with the turn of each financial year that the IDP/Budget consultations are done with the public merely for compliance sake. The community has often and clearly expressed that it does not support what the Executive Mayor has ironically called “the people’s budget” in her speech.
In addition to this, no word has been communicated to the council about the financial turnaround strategy that would improve generation of revenue compiled by the Imbizo held at Badplaas and discussions with the national or provincial treasury on how this municipality will keep head above water and deliver services to its residents. It is only logical that the public should have been consulted about this strategy and that the budget as well as the IDP be informed by this important document which the ANC proudly speaks of but can never provide when demanded to do so. The council has unfairly chosen to raise electricity tariffs at the roof of what has been suggested by NERSA. Property rate tariffs have also been raised while many residents have been waiting for the outcome of their valuation objections since 2016.
The item on the purchase of a mayoral vehicle was withdrawn from the council agenda since it can be procured without the approval of the council, based on the gazetted upper limits describing benefits of political office bearers. Blatantly ignoring the dire financial circumstances that the municipality finds itself in, quotations on the procurement of such a vehicle suggests that the Executive Mayor can look forward to a luxurious SUV vehicle costing the public upwards of a million Rand. Being heavily concerned by the financial state of Govan Mbeki, the DA attempted to avoid the procurement of this vehicle by making various counter proposals including providing the Executive Mayor with transport by means of the fleet that the municipality already has in its possession – to no avail. The Speaker of Council, Nhlakanipho Zuma, unfortunately responded to these proposals that she is entitled to her gazetted benefits and wouldn’t engage in further arguments on the matter.
The DA had maintained its position that in the best interest of the residents of Govan Mbeki they cannot support an unfunded budget with unnecessary items such as the mayoral vehicle, exorbitant employee costs amounting to 24.6% of the total budget and no concrete plan to raise the municipality from the almost immeasurable mountain of debt that continues to threaten leaving residents without basic services such as water and electricity. However, the majority ANC in Govan Mbeki would not hear comprehensive, ethical reasoning and voted for the approval of the budget regardless of the manifold valid concerns that have been raised by the DA in the council.
The DA Caucus in Govan Mbeki hopes for a constructive response to the letter that was written by the DA in the Provincial Legislature to the new CoGTA MEC, Mandla Msibi, requesting his urgent intervention in municipalities like Govan Mbeki and Victor Khanye regarding their financial unsustainability and growing debts towards service providers like ESKOM and Rand Water.”
The DA was not the only party that was upset. T.S. Mofokeng, Chief Whip of the EFF, released the following: “It is with great concern for all of us in Govan Mbeki as part the rainbow nation that we are being so undermined by the ruling party. All efforts put by oppositional parties for the benefit of the community in these areas are put under the carpet or not entertained at all. The Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, no. 32 of 2000 and Regulations stipulates as follows: Chapter 4 is mainly dealing with how the Community Participation must be taken care off. Section 16 Development of culture of community Participation. The Prescript of these Law is flawed by Municipality officials and ANC politicians who specifically dealing with the I. D. P. issues. Subsection that are violated are as follows 1@ Roman figures i, ii, iii, _five. (b) Roman figures i, ii. The entire Chapter 4 Sections 16,17,18,19,20,21 including subsections are not adhered to or they are totally rejected by those officials and just dictates their veterans or unpopular mechanism, ANC Councillors and Mayoral commit rubber stamps all the poison as just cause they are majority party.
Chapter 5 Section 23,24,25 and Section 26 that is the Core components of integrated development plans, 27 which deals with Framework for integrated development planning are also flouted proudly so by Captaincy of the Sinking Ship and EFF is rejecting all these flawed plans populated in this institute Govan GMM.
Cllr Aranda Nel-Buitendag from the FF+ also released the following statement: “The FF+ is against the proposed 2019/2020 budget. How can you approve a budget with “NO” money? After the ruling party had approved the proposed budget, the Executive Mayor appointed a 7th MMC to her team.
Govan Mbeki only posted these IDP Budget meetings recently in a local newspaper, while the meeting was already in session. Meetings were held in a short time and they did not even consider the feedback from the community on said Budget.
Cllr Nel-Buitendag from the FF+ feels that the municipality is punishing the community to pay for their mistakes. There is no recovery plan in place but the municipality wants to only punish the community – those who pay their municipal bills. Cllr Nel-Buitendag said those who are poor will be only become poorer and there will be an increase of illegal electricity connections. The average payer (middle class income), pays their bills and the high cost of this IDP Budget will also affect the average payer to a poorer state and no service delivery to the community. Property Rates are already high, but Govan Mbeki fails the residents due to poor service delivery, sewer overflows, potholes, no streetlights and the list goes on… This will cause degrading of properties’ value.
Cllr Nel-Buitendag also mentioned that the IDP Budget shows 37% of the total revenue is spent on salaries. Why? The interest of outstanding debt is 8 times more than in previous years. There is no proposal in this IDP budget plan for job creation and this will lead to more criminal acts in Govan Mbeki Municipality.”
With all the debt the municipality finds itself in, it seems like, as with any naughty child that relies on their parents to bail them out of financial responsibility, the community is turned into the parent and the municipality just continues falling deeper into debt. This causes the community to suffer more and pay for mistakes that will take years to recover from. – Ané Prinsloo

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