The Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile, has admitted that his appointed administrator failed to rescue Emfuleni Local Municipality from financial distress and service delivery collapse; hence the residents continue to suffer due to a lack of adequate basic services such as water, electricity and refuse removal.
It is clear that none of the interventions implemented by MEC Maile yielded positive results, as this municipality has collapsed and is in severe financial distress.
The failed administration of Emfuleni was revealed by MEC Maile in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).
According to Maile, the key problems identified that required Emfuleni to be placed under administration are the supply chain management, finance, infrastructure/ service delivery and governance.
The MEC states that some of the problems have been addressed, but some are continuing to be addressed under section 139(5) and section 154 of the constitution.
The municipality was not financially sustainable, with a cost coverage ratio of less than one month since the 2016/17 financial year when it was placed under administration. The municipality also failed to pay creditors when due, which, individually or in the aggregate, was more than 2% of the municipality’s budgeted operating expenditure.
Furthermore, in terms of the current debt level of Emfuleni, MEC Maile states that there are no cash-backed reserves for the municipality to build a positive financial health position. The municipality has been developing and adopting budget funding plans to assist in correcting its current unfunded budget status.
There are also challenges with Rand Water and Eskom, which remains high on the risk radar as the municipality’s account is in arrears. Where payment plans are in place, there is no consistency in adhering to payments on monthly bases.
This is all because of the years of mismanagement, maladministration, corruption, and irresponsible governance that occurred under the watch of this government.
It is evident that the ANC government has failed to fix Emfuleni, yet they continue to cling to power.
The DA proposes that the new Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mzi Khumalo, urgently outline a turnaround strategy for Emfuleni, as it currently cannot provide service delivery to its residents. This strategy should include monitoring and evaluation processes with timelines.
This will ensure that the lives of Emfuleni residents are saved after years of suffering under this current administration. The DA will continue to fight for service delivery in Emfuleni and hold the local and provincial governments accountable.