West Rand District Municipality fails to pay senior officials, again

Issued by Ina Cilliers MPL – DA Constituency Head: Merafong
31 May 2019 in Press Statements

The DA is concerned that once again the West Rand District Municipality does not have the funds this month to pay salaries to its senior officials and councillors.

The failure to pay salaries not only poses a serious financial risk to the individuals concerned, it is also part of an escalating financial crisis within the municipality that started back in 2012.

The municipality has, over a sustained period, covered its yearly budget shortfall by withdrawing money from its investments, which are now depleted.

This municipality illegally invested R90 million with the now defunct VBS bank which is subject to an on-going investigation by the Gauteng Provincial Treasury.

Last year when the municipality could not pay salaries the situation escalated to the point where councillors were held hostage, and fire fighters embarked on an illegal strike.

It is concerning that the Gauteng Provincial Treasury has been fully informed of the spiralling debt crisis in the municipality for several years.

The municipality has placed its financial situation on record and has utilised all the mechanisms available to it in terms of the Municipal Financial Management Act.

Provincial Treasury only commissioned a financial recovery plan late in 2018. This plan is now open for public comment until the 7th of June, and affected residents are urged to use the opportunity to voice their concerns.

The plan is accessible here: http://www.wrdm.gov.za/wrdm/?p=11864 

The DA has studied the recovery plan in detail and will be making a formal submission to Treasury.

In addition, the DA has also applied for a copy of the forensic report into the VBS investment via a formal PAIA application.

On behalf of the community of the West Rand, the DA will ensure that wrongdoers are held accountable and that the Gauteng Provincial Government leaves no stone unturned to correct the serious maladministration and general malaise currently plaguing this municipality.