EC departments owe R331m for municipal bills: Daily Dispatch

EASTERN Cape government departments owe municipalities R331million for rates and services.

Responding to parliamentary questions from the DA, local government and traditional affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said about R331-million was owed as at December 31 last year.

Qoboshiyane said letters demanding payments and notifying that disconnections would be effected were sent to some departments.

“Meetings are being held where all government departments and municipalities are invited to monitor payment progress,” he said.

“These meetings have borne fruit in that more than R544-million has been paid out by government departments from April last year to January this year.”

DA MPL Dacre Haddon said it was a concern that rural municipalities with small budgets were placed under unnecessary financial strain due to non-payment by government.

“It is inexcusable that service delivery in our already failing municipalities is hampered further by poor administration and inefficient government departments.”

Haddon said while it was encouraging to note that R554-million had been paid to municipalities from April last year to January this year, government should be serious about development, reform and creating real job opportunities.

“No stone should be left unturned to ensure that municipalities are paid timeously.”

He said he would write to the auditor-general to ask for quarterly reports on payments to be presented to the portfolio committee on local government for ongoing oversight.

In response, Qoboshiyane highlighted that roads and public works alone owed municipalities more than R131-million, while the national Public Works Department owed provincial municipalities more than R111-million.

The education department owed municipalities more than R46-million, health more than R26-million, while transport owed more than R5.1-million and sports, arts and culture as well as social development each owed some R1.8-million. —