Labour union Samwu has expressed reservations on the decision to place the Mangaung Metro under administration. The union says political will from the ANC would help provide a lasting solution.
Expectations were high when Mangaung was upgraded to a status of a metro municipality in 2011.
For residents, hope of jobs, development and economic growth have now faded. The Metro was placed under administration after months of deteriorating service delivery and an inability to meet its financial obligations.
In August, the metro was dealt a blow when Moody’s Rating Agency downgraded it by three notches.
Moody’s cited negative operating balances for the past three fiscal years, driven by operating expenditure increasing at a faster rate than operating revenue.
Mangaung has been at loggerheads with bulk service providers over multimillion rand debts. Bloem Water and Eskom have even threatened to discontinue services to the embattled metro.
Free State Samwu Secretary, Congo Motsepe, says they don’t think putting the minucipality under administration would bring any change.
“We still have Maluti a Phofung, Mafube which are under administration and there’s never been a change in terms of their administration. We don’t really think that putting a municipality under administration, particularly Mangaung, would bring any change. What we think should be a possible way is only political will that will bring changes into Mangaung.”
In the latest development, the provincial government, following National Treasury recommendations, has invoked Section 139 (5) A and C of the Constitution. This means an administrator has to be appointed to take over and ensure the implementation of the Financial Recovery plan that was adopted by the council in July 2018.
Civic organisation Sanco believes one person will not be able to restore stability in Mangaung.
Instead a team of financial experts, engineers and an administrator need to be sent to turn the situation around.