DA requests intervention as municipal services regress in Mantsopa Municipality

Issued by David van Vuuren MPL – DA Chief Whip in the Free State Legislature
09 Feb 2021 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find the attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by David van Vuuren MPL, DA Chief Whip in the Free State Legislature.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has requested the MEC for COGTA, Mr Skully Nxangisa, to formally investigate the conduct of Mr Thamae Masejane, the Municipal Manager (MM) of the Mantsopa Municipality in the Free State. The DA is concerned by the rapid deterioration of service delivery under the current administration, led by the MM, who has failed to ensure reliable basic services for the residents of Mantsopa and has abandoned his statutory duties.

This follows a decision taken by the Mantsopa Council to investigate the MM, following allegations of misconduct, which has not yet occurred despite an independent investigator having been appointed on the 08 June 2020. The report and recommendations must be tabled before the Council, to allow the Mantsopa Municipality to adopt it and implement the recommendations within the provisions of the disciplinary code and procedure for senior managers in municipalities including the remedial action.

The Mantsopa Municipality continuously fails to ensure budgetary control and oversight which has led to financial mismanagement. Unauthorised, irregular, or fruitless and wasteful expenditure and other losses that should have been prevented by sound management are currently spiralling out of control. The under collection, shortfalls and overspending has not been dealt with adequately by the municipal council in contravention of the relevant legislation. The non-payment of the Water Boards, third party creditors and Eskom poses a serious threat to the delivery of frontline services and continues to suffocate the local economy.

This can be evidenced by the fact that as at December 2020 the Mantsopa Municipality’s Eskom debt stood at over R227 million and by the fact that the ability of Mantsopa to collect debt is at a shockingly low 33%. Furthermore, Mantsopa continuously fails to deliver timeous, accurate municipal service accounts to all residents. According to the Auditor General’s report on the previous year’s financial statements, Mantsopa incurred a net loss of R40,9 million and during the financial year audited water loss of 37% and electricity loss of 34% was recorded. All these funds could have been used to supplement basic services.

It is disappointing that the residents of Mantsopa have had to become accustomed to poor service delivery. The MEC for COGTA in the Free State ought to step in and investigate the conduct of the MM and his role played in this poor administration, to prevent a further decline of basic services in Mantsopa.

While the DA continues to fight for the basic services of residents, it is the responsibility of residents to register and vote during the 2021 Local Government Elections.