Financial mismanagement by the ANC-led Merafong Municipality will see residents and businesses plunged into darkness come 25 October 2017 as the municipality owes Eskom R129.5 million.
This is the second local municipality under ANC rule in Gauteng that Eskom intends on switching off in October.
Earlier this month, residents of Emfuleni woke to the news that they would be left out in the dark as the municipality owes Eskom R194.7 million.
With a shrinking job sector in the non-metro areas of the province, it is unimaginable that a critical resource such as electricity will be cut in areas that need it the most to stimulate new economic growth.
Sadly, in the case of Merafong, other services may be disconnected due to the complete failure by the ANC to manage the people’s finances.
Merafong currently owes R55.3 million to Rand Water, yet has done little to curb the more than 50% of water losses it experiences due to ailing infrastructure and a lack of maintenance.
Next week, the municipality will ask the Council to condone R16 million for interest accrued on arrears as well as R11 million for an irregular security contract. All of these woes come at a time when the Mayor is being accused of hiring her own band of gangsters to intimidate and threaten political opponents.
A group of young men claiming to be the Mayors own army came forward voluntarily to disclose this when their payment in the form of EPWP jobs dried up.
It is abundantly clear that the ANC administration of Merafong have no interest in serving the people. The DA has been calling on the province to remove the Mayor since 2015, and to actively intervene according to the mechanisms contained in the Constitution. It is clear that the ANCs Back to Basics programme is a dismal failure.
The DA will again question Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affair, Paul Mashatile, as to whether the Provincial Government has any intention of intervening in the matter. We will also write to Eskom to give reasons as to why the lights in Merafong should not be switched off.