by Melinda Hattingh, MPL – DA Constituency Head of Lohatla
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Date: 21 May 2018
The DA has reiterated its call to MEC of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), Bentley Vass, to place the Gamagara Municipality under administration.
This comes after Ratings Afrika last week published its latest Municipal Financial Sustainability Index, revealing Gamagara municipality as the worst municipality in the Northern Cape.
It does not come as a surprise to the DA that Gamagara Municipality is performing so badly.
The placement of ANC cadres in senior management positions has, to a large extent, destroyed the operations of this municipality. The placement of Moses “Maserati” Grond, as the Municipal Manager, is a prime example. His lavish lifestyle took precedence over dealing with service delivery issues and also came at the cost of service delivery.
Whilst he has since been removed as Municipal Manager, he still remains as the Chief Financial Officer, and continues his legacy of corruption and maladministration.
Earlier this year, the DA called on Vass to place the municipality under administration after it came to light that the municipality had failed to fulfill its payment obligation to Eskom for outstanding debt exceeding R65 million. The municipality also owes money to other institutions. At the last known date, Gamagara owed R62 million to Anglo American after it lost the court case against the disastrous property evaluations and R7.6 million to John Taole Gaetsewe District Municipality after at least two payment agreements were not honoured by Grond.
The municipality is also believed to be in arrears on its repayments to the Development Bank of South Africa. They further owe at least R14 million to Sedibeng Water. This amount could be more, however, because despite numerous requests by councillors for Grond to produce proof of his agreement with Sedibeng, he consistently withheld important financial information from council.
It is clear that the most basic responsibility of municipal management and the ANC-run council, to manage the municipal finances of Gamagara, have been eroded to a point of no return.
As a result, it is the people of the Kathu and its surrounds, who suffer the most. Residents constantly face the threat of load shedding and water shedding. They frequently also have to live alongside sewage, due to the municipality’s failure to upgrade and maintain infrastructure.
Despite our previous pleas to CoGHSTA having fallen on deaf ears, the DA will keep on trying to hold incompetent employees, who are mostly ANC cadres, accountable and to have the municipality placed under provincial administration.
The only viable chance, however, to really turn Gamagara municipality around is with a significant change in both provincial and local government at the ballot boxes in 2019 and 2012 – a change that only the DA can bring.
Melinda Hattingh, MPL
DA Constituency Head of Lohatla
082 494 6648
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387