Province to assist local council
The Enoch Mgijima Local municipality is opposing the court application to have their Council dissolved by a joint community organisation; known as Let’s Talk Komani. The group approached the Eastern Cape High Court to have the municipal council dissolved following a landmark judgement in Makhanda.
According to municipality spokesperson, Lonwabo Kowa, the Municipality has accumulated a R198 million Eskom debt over years and monthly instalments to Eskom are taking a huge chunk from the budget to the detriment of service delivery. The payment agreement was established in November 2018.
Eastern Cape Premier Lubabalo Mabuyane, on March 8 led a Provincial Government team of MEC of Finance, Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs and provincial treasury in a meeting with the Enoch Mgijima local municipality’s troika (Mayor, Speaker, Chief Whip) to inform them about the decision of the Executive Council to provide support to the municipality to enable it to provide sustainable services to the people of Enoch Mgijima.
The provincial government has promised to work closely with the municipality to address financial, community and corporate services challenges chocking the municipality’s ability to provide services to communities.
“The first round of talks between Let’s Talk Komani and the Provincial government took place in recent weeks and laid a foundation for an intervention that will allow both government and Let’s Talk Komani to implement the existing MOU signed by both parties to support the municipality to provide sustainable services to the local community,” said Mvuyisiwekhaya Sicwetsha, spokesperson for the Premier.
The Provincial Government is optimistic that there will be an agreement with all parties to work together in taking the municipality out of its current challenges so that it can function as required by the constitution, serve the people better, collect revenue to be able to finance provision of services to the community.
“The amalgamation of the three Municipal entities also did not help solve financial constraints as each entity had its own challenges and no sufficient budget was injected during the amalgamation phase. Our electricity infrastructure is old and dilapidated and we face intermittent electric faults. Revenue is also adversely affected by some businesses and customers who fail to pay for municipal services. We are also experiencing illegal connections,” he said.