Kirkwood burns after municipality writes off half of budget for irregular expenditure

Residents from Kirkwood’s Moses Mabhida township has laid siege to the town after R84.5 million was written off for irregular expenditure by the Sunday’s River Valley Municipality.  This is more than half of the municipality’s annual budget of R150 million.

People were barred from entering the town by the Public Order Policing unit (POPS) this morning.  I was informed that municipal offices, the ANC offices, the fire station, fire-trucks as well as the garbage disposal truck had been set alight.  Rubber bullets had been fired at protestors.  Residents had been asked not to leave their homes.

While the DA understands the legitimate frustration of local residents we do not support protest action that results in violence and destruction of property.

The DA in the area have been warning the mayor and the municipal manager over the past two weeks about the consequences of the lack of communication and lack of response to service delivery problems in the area.

Adding fuel to the fire is the recent incidents affecting water supply due to the failing infrastructure in the area which has a direct effect on the dreadful state of service delivery in the area.

It seems that no one is being held accountable for the reported irregular expenditure of R 84.5 million that the council wrote off.  It is clear that these funds were misappropriated and that there were irregular procedures followed especially in terms of tender processes.

Sunday’s River Valley is amongst those named as the 14 worst performing municipalities in the Eastern Cape.

Urgent intervention by Local Government MEC Fikile Xasa is required to address these issues, particularly the mismanagement that is fuelling the unrest.