Govan Mbeki Municipal mayor blames residents for revenue crisis

Mr Nhlakanipho Zuma (speaker) and Ms Florah Maboa-Boltman (Govan Mbeki Municipal executive mayor) before the council meeting.

Govan Mbeki Municipality’s executive mayor, Ms Florah Maboa-Boltman, shifted the blame for the current municipal crisis to residents and businesses who are not paying for services.

Tabling her budget speech at the last council meeting, Ms Maboa-Boltman said Council is facing a revenue generation mainly because of a huge number of residents, including businesses, are not paying for municipal services rendered.

“I am dismayed by the big businesses and companies that are not paying for services, yet they run their businesses in the municipal area and in the process make huge profits.

“We have subsequently established the Mayoral Koleka Dikoloto (Kodiko) and further revamped the Revenue Enhancement Committee and the Revenue Recovery Committee in order to implement a radical revenue generating plan which is currently yielding desired results, albeit not as quickly as we prayed it should.

“We are therefore calling on our people to join hands with us and begin to take the issue of paying for their services very seriously.

“Today I present to you the final operating budget that has decreased to R1.6 billion compared to the adjusted budget of R1.7 billion.

“The trend is that the operating revenue is not performing as expected and the municipality is experiencing losses in trading services led by electricity losses.”

Electricity

Regarding electricity, Ms Maboa-Boltman said the challenges are well known.

“The process of introducing smart meters will be vigorously intensified to ensure those who steal electricity are exposed and dealt with as decisively as possible. “The projects geared towards smart metering include

“The projects geared towards smart metering include Sanedi, Vodacom and Sasol, and further to that, discussions with Eskom are underway to be part of the roll out.

“The challenges are experienced mainly in eMbalenhle and eMzinoni due to overloading and aging infrastructure.

“The projected revenue for electricity is R463-m. The bulk purchase of water and electricity combined amounts to R670-m, which takes up 40 per cent of our projected revenue. This cannot be business as usual.”

Ms Maboa-Boltman said Council is doing everything practically possible to deal with the Eskom account and progressive engagements are continually taking place with Eskom to arrive at a workable solution.

Sanitation

She said sanitation challenges in Ext 18,19, 20, and 22 in eMbalenhle are of a serious concern to the municipality and that Council has learned a valuable lesson that the planning of infrastructure development should be integrated with the delivery of housing.

“We are currently upgrading the eMbalenhle Waste Water Treatment Works at R14-m.

“The project of the sewer reticulation network in Ext 18 in eMbalenhle to the value of R4-m was executed internally by our employees under the leadership of the PMU deputy director.

“We will continue to focus on addressing the challenges of the sewers in eMbalenhle, Lebohang, and eMzinoni.

“The conversion of VIP to waterborne systems in Ext 4 and 6 in eMzinoni for an amount of R9-m with an additional R8-m needed to cover unforeseen hard rock challenges, is still in progress.

“The tariff for sewer charges will be increased by 10.2 per cent with effective from 1 July this year.”

Access to water

Ms Maboa-Boltman said the promotion of access to water remains Council’s objective for the community, particularly people living on farms.

“We have installed 25 boreholes with windmills to a value of R4.8-m.

“We are committed to deliver water with water tankers to these communities.

“Our bulk purchase for water and electricity amounts to R670-m.

“The tariff charges for water will be increased by 10.2 per cent.

The mayor is confident Council has entered into an agreement with the National Department of Public Works for an expanded public works programme worth R4-m for the financial year 2017/18.

The municipality in partnership with Rand Water Academy has been successful in professionalising 120 unemployed graduates of who 112 have found employment.

Projects

Ms Maboa-Boltman announced the following projects for the next five years:

• The building of Bethal state-of-the-art hospital worth more than R800-m.

• Integrated Human Settlement Development in Bethal Ext 11 with an investment value of more than R1.5-billion.

• Development of family flats (Tsalanang) in eMbalenhle Future Projects.

• Development of an industrial park is Secunda.

• Ekuthuleni Ext 24 in Leandra.

• Secunda west.

“These projects are aimed at addressing the demand for housing. It is therefore important to highlight that people should not grab land where we aim at bringing these developments.

“We should caution those who perpetrate such behavior, that they are shooting themselves in the foot for they are part of us facing the challenge of providing access to land.”

Ms Maboa-Boltman announced the projects that will be completed by the end of the year.

These are:

• Storm water channel in Leandra: R1.2-m.

• Multi-purpose centre in Charles Cilliers: R4-m.

• Houses in Ext 13 in eMzinoni: R4.4-m.

• Construction of a community hall in eMzinoni: R1.5-m.

• Construction of boreholes in rural areas: R4-m.

• eMzinoni pump station: R6-m.

“Projects that we will delivered in the next five years, are:

• Upgrade of Thistle Grove Dam and Recreation facility: R4.5-m.

• Upgrade of Kinross Library: R3-m.

• Storm water channel, roads, electricity upgrade in eMbalenhle: R11-m.

• Upgrading of Bethal Dam: R3.5-m.

• Leandra sewer network: R5-m.

• Maths and science project: R5-m.

• Paving of internal roads at Bethal Cemetery: R2.7-m.

“The total investment of all these projects from our mining houses amount to R59.8-m.

Roads

“I appreciate the progress we are seeing thus far in terms of our road maintenance.

“The recent rain before the winter has done serious damage to our roads and created an atmosphere that we see where our people, in particular the taxi industry, raising concerns over the state of our roads.

“An amount of R10-m was set aside for responding to this challenge in eMzinoni and R8.7-m for eMbalenhle.”

The indigent support has increased from R432 to R471.

You can read Ms Maboa-Boltman’s full budget speech here.

  AUTHOR
Sifiso Mathebula
Journalist

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