by Melinda Hattingh MPL – DA Constituency Head of Kalahari
Date: 29 November 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA has made an urgent call on the Gamagara Council to fire the acting Municipal Manger (MM) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Moses Grond.
Whilst the financial state of the debt ridden Gamagara Municipality has spiraled completely out of control, Grond has become a law unto himself. He reports to himself and he alone signs off and approves payments.
The lavish lifestyle of Grond, better known as the “Maserati Man”, due to his penchant for luxurious cars, including a Maserati, is an insult to a community suffering under the municipality’s service delivery failures.
The DA believes that financial mismanagement and subsequent poor service delivery can be traced directly back to Grond.
Shocking details pertaining to the municipality’s mounting debt are being exposed.
In a very selective and manipulative media statement, the municipality yesterday released figures relating to debt owed to Eskom (R55 million) and Sedibeng Water Board (R8,4 million). At the same time, the municipality insinuated that residents are somehow responsible for Gamagara’s self-made financial crisis. This is despite the municipality’s billing system being wrought with flaws. The truth is that residents, some of whom are willing to pay millions in outstanding municipal debt in a single swipe, and who stand in long queues to do so, cannot because of the lack of available accurate billing information.
The DA considers the municipality’s sudden communication via the media to be a ploy to distract from the worsening financial situation in Gamagara Municipality. Pointing to its revenue streams as being its only problem is a feeble attempt to divert attention away from obscene expenses. In fact, we know for certain that the debt owed to Eskom and Sedibeng are just the tip of the iceberg and that the full extent of the municipality’s financial state has not been disclosed.
Other municipal debt include:
R62 million owed to Anglo American after it lost the court case against the disastrous property evaluations;
R7.6 million owed 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, with who it has a loan agreement. It is further believed that an attempt to renegotiate the terms of this loan, and re-consolidate its debt in order to meet its burning obligations, has not been sanctioned.
DA councillors in Gamagara municipality have submitted a motion with notice, demanding that Mayor Edwin Hantise immediately removes Grond from the positions of acting MM and CFO. They are also seeking a full disclosure of the financial situation of the municipality.
The motion is expected to be tabled at a Special Council Meeting, also insisted upon by the DA, on Tuesday next week. It has, however, not yet been confirmed as to whether this meeting will proceed. If the DA’s demands are not met, we will not hesitate to report the matter to the Public Protector for further investigation.
It is increasingly clear that vitally important financial information is being willfully, and possibly illegally, withheld from councillors.
A can of worms has just been opened, and the DA will embark on a robust fishing trip to catch all the sharks who have bankrupted Gamagara municipality at the cost of service delivery.