Parliament, Tuesday 27 October 2020 – National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chief Whip, Mr Seiso Mohai, has urged the Matjhabeng Local Municipality to source suitably qualified people to help it address its challenges.

Representatives of the municipality told the Free State permanent delegates to the NCOP during a Provincial Week interaction today that among the challenges they face, was lack of research capacity to strengthen the knowledge of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC), theft and vandalism, illegal mining activities, misuse of sewer, and aging infrastructure.

“It is important for the municipality to know that as the NCOP we can’t give them engineers to solve some of these challenges they are facing. It is their responsibility to source the relevant skills to address these problems,” said NCOP Chief Whip Mohai.

The municipality also has dysfunctional oversight structures like the Financial Misconduct Board and others like the Internal Audit and Risk Management committees are partly functional, however, their recommendations are not fully implemented. Matjhabeng owes Eskom R3.3 billion for bulk electricity dating back to 2004 and has spent over R6 million on consultants but there are no visible improvements to account for the expenditure.

"It is concerning that the municipality owes Eskom so much for electricity, it is obvious that the municipality does not set itself targets for revenue collection," Mohai said.

Free State Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Mr Thembeni Nxangisa, told the NCOP that Matjhabeng is currently under investigation in terms of section 106 of the Municipal Systems Act. “This intervention is informed by a serious belief that there is maladministration at the municipality,” said Nxangisa adding that the intervention has been in place since February (initially for three months) but had to be extended until the end of November because of disruptions caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Nxangisa said they are waiting for the report to determine what further course of action they will take in relation to fixing the problems at the municipality.

During the interaction representatives of Sedibeng Water told the NCOP that Matjhabeng owes the entity about R3,6 billion and going forward they will not be able to provide a reliable and sustainable water service to the municipality without funding and payment of the outstanding debt.

“Sedibeng is technically insolvent, if the situation doesn’t improve by December we might have to close and our suppliers are refusing to give us credit,” said Mr Simphiwe Dzengwa adding that they are currently cross-subsidising their services and rotating supply so that they do not run dry. Sedibeng currently owes its creditors about R300 mil and supplies water to the Free State, Northern Cape and North West which makes it the largest water utility in the country in terms of the geographical area that it serves.

The delegation continues with its hybrid interaction tomorrow at 10 am and will interact with the Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality on governance challenges, progress and achievements so far.


For interviews with the delegation, please contact:

Modise Kabeli
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