MBCF sets hardball plan into motion

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GK CRONJE

16 August 2022

Over R300 million is blown on salaries, with the municipality employing more than 50 “managers” amongst the staff.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

The Msukaligwa Business & Community Forum (MBCF) unveiled their plan of forcing service delivery from Msukaligwa Local Municipality during a meeting at the Ermelo Inn on Wednesday, 10 August 2022. A satisfactory turnout of residents and business owners marked the event, where the chairperson, Janice Conradie, set forth the plan of action. Conradie stated that the municipality is on the verge of complete collapse, unless drastic measures are implemented. Part of the plan to force delivery of services include, but are not limited to a mass dispute of faulty accounts across the board and a plan to have residents and businesses withhold payments to put pressure on the municipality to step up to the plate.

Conradie also told the Tribune that Gert Sibande District Municipality will be involved, and the matter will be escalated to a provincial and national level. A high level meeting with Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (COGTA) is also on the schedule. However, the complacency of the residents and businesses in Ermelo needs to come to and end if the plan is to be successfully implemented. Every resident needs to take a stand against the municipality, which consistently fails to deliver their mandated service. Rampant corruption, politicking and constant infighting has a bleak and distressing effect on Ermelo and the Msukaligwa region. Mismanagement and a lack of strong, honest and consistent leadership has the municipality sinking at an alarming rate. According to the MBCF, the municipality is more than R200 million in arrears with their Eskom account, hence the frustrating load reduction. In addition to the monthly bill they have to service, they have to fork out an additional 15% interest on the arrears amount.

Over R300 million is blown on salaries, with the municipality employing more than 50 “managers” amongst the staff. This alone takes a huge chunk of the flimsy operating budget. Conradie also says that the municipality has over R20 million allocated for the installation of new, modern water meters, but they fail to utilize the funds in a manner that is seen fit. The new meters would eliminate the need of manual water meter readings, and would also halt the illegal practice of estimating water usage figures. Shockingly, the municipality also owes the Rand Water Board close to R1 billion, despite the municipality going on record on several previous occasions, stating that the account is serviced sufficiently.

The MBCF implores residents to apply for membership, as a large collective of residents are needed to get the plan off the ground. Conradie has told the Tribune that they are convening with higher authorities, as well as their advocate, to compile a clear, concise and comprehensive plan of action to be launched at the next meeting, which is to be announced soon. The date will be made available as soon as all affairs are in order. You may view the video of the meeting on our Facebook page, Tribune Ermelo.