MBCF to announce strategic action soon

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GK CRONJE

1 September 2022

One of the larger issues that the community and business sector faces is the non-functional billing system of the municipality.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

On 10 August 2022, the Msukaligwa Business & Community Forum (MBCF), spearheaded by the chairperson, Janice Conradie, hosted a meeting with the residents and businesses of Ermelo. The aim of the meeting was to discuss and plan a way forward amidst the lack of service delivery provided by Msukaligwa Local Municipality. One of the larger issues that the community and business sector faces is the non-functional billing system of the municipality. This, coupled with the wholly illegal practice of the municipality’s departments billing consumers according to shockingly inaccurate estimations, have put more and more pressure on the community to finally take a stand against Msukaligwa Local Municipality.

While the initial plan of action included a certain period of non-payment from a large percentage of the community and businesses, following a meeting with the MBCF’s advocate, the plan has now been revised. Conradie told the Tribune that discussions with the advocate highlighted the fact that withholding payment from the side of the consumer will prove too problematic, due to the finicky legality of the action. Furthermore, regarding the issues of potholes, refuse services and others, it is unlawful to withhold the payment of property rates for any reason, even if the municipality is not providing the services. This has had a massive impact on the execution of the initial plan, as it would seem that rate paying citizens are basically left to their own devices.

However, not all is lost. Following the MBCF’s roundabout of meetings with various roleplayers and government officials, the plan has been revised and adapted to follow legal procedure.

The best recourse, according to the MBCF’s legal team, would be to have a sizeable number of rate payers band together to lodge a mass dispute. The more individuals recruited to the initative, the larger the chance of success. Ultimately, the municipality will then, should the mass dispute exert enough pressure, be forced to provide the services to the community as mandated.

A high level meeting between the MBCF and Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (COGTA) will also place additional pressure on the municipality to step up their game. Ultimately, the power of change will be in the hands of the community of Msukaligwa. All residents will need to unite and take a stand against the ongoing service delivery failure within the municipal bounds.

The final stages of a legal, clear and concise plan is currently being undertaken by the MBCF. Once all details have been straightened out, the MBCF will announce the date on which the details will be conveyed to the public within the bounds of Msukaligwa. The date of the plan’s announcement will be made available in advance to all members of the public, stakeholders and roleplayers who would wish to partake. Therefore the date will provide adequate time for all interested and affected parties to make provision to attend the meeting. The MBCF urges all interested parties, irrespective of individual or business, to join the MBCF. This will strengthen the hand in dealing with these service delivery issues, and various other issues. For more information, contact Janice Conradie on 072 401 1449.