Free State MEC bemoans huge municipal debts

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The MEC for Public Works and Infrastructure in the Free State has bemoaned municipal debts running into millions owed to municipalities as her department’s Achilles heel in efforts to obtain a clean audit report.

MEC Motshidisi Koloi’s department is among 5 others in the province which failed to obtain a clean audit following the Auditor General (AG) Tsakani Maluleke’s report.

She told journalists during a media braying in Bloemfontein recently that her department’s efforts to achieve a clean audit report were hindered by historical municipal debts. Koloi says despite efforts made to ensure that debts are fully paid, the issue remains a concern.

“It is very much important to indicate that as the department of public works we have come up with a revenue enhancement strategy that has been submitted to the provincial treasury, to ensure we generate revenue to deal with municipal debts and ensure public works no longer owes municipalities,” Koloi adds.

OFM News previously reported that the cash strapped Trompsburg Kopanong Local Municipality lambasted the government for owing a sum of R45 million in rates and taxes.

According to the speaker of the council, Jerry Moitse, the national government owes the municipality a sum of R25 million, and the remainder is owed by provincial departments.

“Since 2016, we have been struggling to get the provincial and national departments to settle their accounts. There has been no change so far. It is very worrying to always hear how Kopanong municipality has no money. The committee promised to give feedback within seven days and 6 months later nothing happened. With R45 million, Kopanong can cover five month’s salaries and then the council does not have to use projects’ funds to pay salaries,” Moitse said.

Lucky Nkuyane/ OFM NEWS