KOUGA Municipality owes the Nelson Mandela Bay metro (NMBM), according to mayor Zanoxolo Wayile, more than R25.5-million for water which the former municipality purchases from the metro. ("Kouga owes NMBM millions for water", January 23).
The DA councillors in both Kouga (Jeffreys Bay/Humansdorp and surrounds) and the NMBM are aware of the acknowledgement of debt signed by Kouga's chief financial officer in September 2011, when Kouga agreed to pay off R500000 a month to cover the debt, plus the amount for the current consumption. At the time, the DA in the NMBM calculated it could – at the water usage rate of Kouga at the time – take more than four years to pay off the debt and get the current balance back on the 30-day system, as prescribed by the Municipal Finance Management Act.
On May 4 last year, a DA delegation from Kouga met with MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane to discuss Kouga's outstanding debt at the time, which, as at May 3 amounted to R123.278-million. The NMBM water-debt balance on May 3 last year was R24-million.
The statement by Laura-Leigh Randall, municipal spokesperson for Kouga, is correct if she calculated the 16 months being the term to date of the acknowledgement of debt where Kouga paid off R500000 each month. BUT why is there no decrease in the debt from May 3 last year until December?
The problem is the Kouga mayoral committee does not submit any financial statements to the finance portfolio committee. They first want to process it under the blanket in a mayoral committee meeting before it is referred to a portfolio committee months later or displayed in the quarterly reports at a council meeting.
The Kouga mayor so easily refers to the debt as "inherited from a previous regime", but what he neglects to say is that the previous regime before the 2011 elections was also an ANC regime and that the finance chairperson was Vernon Stuurman for the period before the elections and still holds the same position after the elections. So this Stuurman/ANC regime is completely responsible for the dreadful financial woes of Kouga municipality.
The request that NMBM must write off the interest on the loan is ridiculous. The NMBM also has financial difficulties and has to pay interest on loans and overdrafts.
This amount of bank or loan interest in the Nelson Mandela metro must then be paid by the residents of the metro ... how unfair.
These outstanding debtor accounts of Kouga municipality should never have existed if there was proper financial administration.
The DA fully supports Wayile of the NMBM in approaching Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and national Treasury to intervene.
I will also write to Gordhan, Terence Nombembe the auditor general, as well as the auditor general in the Eastern Cape to address the various financial issues in Kouga. The MEC for local government, Mlibo Qhobshiyane, will also be informed of the situation and will be requested to reconsider the Section 154 intervention he implemented in Kouga as it clearly is not conducive to an improved financial status in the Kouga administration.
The taxpayers cannot afford to allow their hard- earned money to be squandered by irresponsible financial administration.
Elza van Lingen, MP, DA leader, National Council of Provinces