Gauteng municipalities have lost more than  R4 billion in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. That is the amount they could not collect as many citizens have been being unable to pay for municipal services.

Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile earlier briefed the media on interventions to address revenue losses.

He says the COVID-19 outbreak has weakened the local government revenue collection which resulted in a low number of payments of rates in the past two months.

He has announced steps to be taken to address municipal revenue losses as the country battles COVID-19.

“Municipalities have also had to spend additional unbudgeted funds for COVID- 19 related expenditure and although funds for unmanned expenditure will be reimbursed, that is a process that is not immediate and as such has added the current financial strain on our municipalities. The COGTA MEC is to engage with Minister of Finance on matters relating to any prescriptions on how the R20 billion should be spent and the emphasis should be on service delivery related issues and this can’t because of salaries. Eskom and Rand Water must be engaged to see if payment terms cannot be changed from 30 days to 45 days as well as on whether they can relax terms when it comes to charging interests on municipal debt.”

Maile says the provincial government has now appointed Willy Bila, Deputy Director-General at COGTA in the province as an administrator to help turn around the Emfuleni Municipality. Maile says he hopes the new administrator will help improve the municipality.

“The intervention at  Emfuleni up to now has brought about some change in the effective running of the municipality but has not been far-reaching enough in order to get far-reaching substantial service delivery impact, hence we felt the need to intensify the intervention so that we can make deeper inroads in addressing issues, to bring the municipality into their position.”