Access to basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation by thousands of residents in seven local municipalities, including two district municipalities in Gauteng will be severely affected with these municipal councils having once again presented unfunded budgets for the 2021/22 financial year.
It is now becoming a norm that especially local municipalities are presenting unfunded budgets, which always results in a negative impact on service delivery.
Eskom and Rand Water are the two main creditors affected when an unfunded budget is presented by local municipalities, resulting in a reduction of services to our residents in the affected municipalities, such as scheduled electricity cuts during the day, making it even harder for residents to get by during the cold winter.
In response to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), the MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko revealed that the following municipalities have provided an unfunded budget for this financial year:
- Mogale City Local Municipality
- Lesedi Local Municipality
- Emfuleni Local Municipality
- Sedibeng District Municipality
- Rand West Local Municipality
- West Rand District Municipality
- Merafong Local Municipality
It is appalling that thousands of residents living in these municipalities will be subjected to substandard service delivery or none at all because these municipalities do not have enough cash resources on hand to ensure that their creditors are paid on time.
This means that residents who are already suffering because of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, now have to pay for services that they are not receiving on a regular basis.
In addition, where services such as electricity and water are affected, it means that our residents are unable to cook food for their families and regularly wash their hands.
Furthermore, small businesses are also affected by the constant disruption of electricity by Eskom due to load reduction, which means that they lose valuable clientele when they are unable to operate.
If MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko is serious about ensuring that all local municipalities are able to present funded budgets, she will as a matter of urgency, conduct an internal inquiry to ascertain exactly why it is that seven out of eight local municipalities are not able to present a funded budget year after year. This trend clearly points to poor planning on the part of the municipality and a lackadaisical approach to their responsibility of providing services to residents.
The DA-led Midvaal is the only local municipality that has presented a funded budget in the province. Midvaal is committed to ensuring that they have enough cash liquidity so that residents can get the service delivery they need and deserve. The DA will continue to shine the spotlight on the lack of service delivery in these seven municipalities as it is unfair that residents are not provided with what they truly deserve.
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