Mkhondo mayor blows nearly R1 million on unauthorized outing

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GK CRONJE

12 July 2022

"The state of Mkhondo continues to deteriorate as lack of accountability and poor governance continues to haunt this municipality,” the DA stated.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed their distress regarding the businesses and residents of Mkhondo Local Municipality, who face a bleak future as they experience up to 10 hours a day without electricity because of load shedding and load reduction. The DA has stated that the situation is so dire that it threatens their existence. While this scenario plagues business owners and residents, the mayor allegedly spent almost R1 million of taxpayers' money in Durban on an unauthorized “meeting”. The DA has noted that they find it strange that the meeting coincidentally took place on the same weekend as the Durban July. Despite the increasing population in Mkhondo Local Municipality over the past couple of years, and many requests to Eskom to increase their Notified Maximum Demand (NMD) of electricity to 40MVA, Eskom has refused.

The municipality is being restricted to using only 18MVA due to their R341 million debt. The last payment made to Eskom was in April 2022, and they paid only R500 000. “Then you have a mayor and councillors who decided to go to Durban for an unauthorized meeting, that caused taxpayers and council almost R1 million. The state of Mkhondo continues to deteriorate as lack of accountability and poor governance continues to haunt this municipality,” the DA stated. The DA also noted that other than Mkhondo, residents in Govan Mbeki and Msukaligwa Local Municipalities are also experiencing daily load reduction because of their Eskom debt.

“This is concerning because it will lead to job losses as businesses will eventually be forced to close doors. With the loss of 51 000 jobs in the first quarter of 2022, Mpumalanga cannot afford to lose more jobs as businesses and local economies are crippled by an inadequate electricity supply. We must create a conducive environment and that can only be attained by keeping the lights on. As these municipalities had their requests to increase their Notified Maximum Demand (NMD) rejected due to outstanding debts, the DA calls on COGTA MEC, Mandla Ndlovu, to engage with Eskom to suspend rotational load reduction in municipalities that exceed their NMD in the midst of load shedding,” the DA concluded.