[This is in a specific region. Jan]
Land invasions and Eskom deb contribute to distress of Emalahleni Local Municipality
27 October 2020
Mpumalanga permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) today met with Emalahleni Local Municipality, the provincial Treasury, as well as the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the province, for a briefing on key interventions to improve the municipality’s financial performance.
This interaction marked the beginning of the Provincial Week which is held under the theme: “Ensuring capable and financially sound municipalities”, and Emalahleni is one of three municipalities to be visited during the provincial week. The other two are Lekwa and Govan Mbeki local municipalities.
The MEC for Cogta, Mr Mandla Msibi, his counterpart in Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Pat Ngomane, and the Executive Mayor of Emalahleni, Councillor Linah Malatjie, briefed the NCOP members and members of the Provincial Legislature on the municipality’s financial management, debt collection, municipal debt, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, the use of consultants as well as on financial recovery plans.
The delegation heard about illegal land invasions which have reportedly contributed to the escalation of the municipality’s debt to Eskom, now standing at about R4.2 billion, because of illegal connections.
The financial status of the municipality, illegal land invasions and the Eskom debt were big concerns for Members of Parliament and they want to see these being resolved.
Members also did not appreciate the over-reliance, by Emalahleni, on consultants, saying they were costly and this does not help the financial recovery plans of the municipality.
The NCOP delegates have also advised Emalahleni to apply the necessary legislation to deal with illegal land invasions.
MEC Ngomane said a progress report on the implementation of financial recovery plans in the municipality will be submitted to the NCOP.
Mpumalanga Provincial Whip in the NCOP and the Leader of the delegation, Ms Audrey Maleka, commended the provincial government and the municipality for “doing their level best to turn Emalahleni around”.
The Provincial Week is one of the initiatives that the NCOP initiated in order to enhance oversight over provincial and local governments, and directly engage local communities on challenges of service delivery.
It also provides an opportunity for the NCOP and the provincial legislatures to jointly engage with citizens on challenges they experience, and provide an opportunity to receive reports from government departments and municipalities on progress made regarding service delivery.