NCOP says Limpopo government must assist local municipalities repay debts

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The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) says the Limpopo provincial government must assist the Thabazimbi and Modimolle-Mookgophong local municipalities to repay electricity and water debts to enable them to provide services to residents. The two municipalities owe Eskom and the Magalies Water Board a combined amount of more than R400 million.

NCOP Chairperson, Tshitereke Matibe, says they are also concerned that the Municipal Public Accounts Committees are dysfunctional in those local municipalities.

Delegates from the NCOP visited three troubled local municipalities in the Waterberg District Municipality last week. The visit focused on the political instability and operational and administrative challenges in the municipalities.

Matibe says Public Account Committees in the three municipalities need to be capacitated because they are dysfunctional.

“We have also recommended that the province must assist the municipalities to repay the debts of Eskom because if that debt is not repaid and finalised, services to our people will still be having challenges.”

Thabazimbi and Modimolle-Mookgopong have huge debts to Eskom, the Magalies Water Board and the South African Revenue Service.  Matibe says the combined R400 million debt owed to Eskom and Magalies Water by Thabazimbi and Modimolle-Mookgophong is hampering service delivery in the municipalities.

He says the provincial government must intervene. Matibe says the situation is worse at Thabazimbi because the municipality also owes the South African Revenue Service.

“In Thabazimbi, they are owing Eskom and Magalies Water Board accounts. In terms of Eskom, they are owing more than R200 million. They are also owing Sars. The credit that they are having with Eskom and Magalies Water Board is challenging in terms of service delivery because they have low revenue collection.”

Sanco interim chairperson in the Waterberg District Municipality, Tlou Sasa, says the council at the Modimolle Municipality must be dissolved to improve services.

“The council does not take decisions. We are calling for the dissolution of this council. Now, going to Modimole, we are not sure what is happening there. There’s still a report pending that shows there are councillors who were doing business with the municipalities.”

Two years ago, the Modimolle-Mookgophong Local Municipality was bankrupt and as a result, was placed under administration. The Mogalakwena Local Municipality in Mokopane is also under administration.