Note to editors: Please find attached English soundbite by Cllr Mbalie Mnaba and Sesotho soundbite by Cllr Palesa Mpele.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Moqhaka Local Municipality calls for disciplinary action against the responsible individual who failed to implement the council tariff hike resolution, approved on 21 June 2022. The resolution states that annual tariff hikes were to be effected on 01 July 2022. The municipality disregarded the resolution by not implementing the budget tariff hike from the beginning of the budget year.
On 21 June 2022, Moqhaka Council approved the 2022/2023 budget to increase tariffs on their service delivery services. Section 24(1) of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) states that “the municipality must at least 30 days before the start of the budget year consider approval of the annual budget.”
The DA was bombarded with queries from residents demanding answers regarding the increase in their accounts. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the tariff increase was on 01 February 2023 as an adjustment.
During the adjustment budget council meeting, held on 28 February 2023, there was no mention of this effect. The Local Government: Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000) states that members of the local community must pay service fees, rates, and taxes. Their right to access municipal services is linked to their duty to pay for those services.
The challenge is that if residents’ accounts are increased without any warning or prior knowledge, how will they adjust their personal budget in such a situation?
The DA has since sent a Section 52 letter questioning why the implementation was not done as required by the MFMA and explaining the challenges that are faced by the community due to its mismanagement. We reiterate that the formal notice should have been submitted at a special council meeting and later to the public.
There has not been any formal notice regarding the matter from Moqhaka Municipality yet.