Karoo town suffers while Blue Crane Municipality fails to collect outstanding debt of eight years from Pearston ANC constituency office

Five years on and still no rental paid for ANC Pearston constituency office (English)

Five years on and still no rental paid for ANC Pearston constituency office (Afrikaans)

The Blue Crane Route Municipality (BCRM) has failed to collect an estimated amount of R114 000 from the ANC over the past eight years for the lease of municipal premises for the ANC’s constituency office in the small town of Pearston.

It is unacceptable that all residents are being forced to subsidise the ANC.  This is a gross misuse of municipal revenue.  Service charges and rates are there for the benefit of everyone and cannot be misused in this fashion.  This corruption needs to be stopped  and good governance introduced in this municipality so BCRM can move forward again.  This is what should occur in a fair society.

When the DA brought this matter to the attention of the then MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane in 2013, he stated that the BCRM would issue claims for outstanding rental charges and also review the lease agreement as it was never reviewed after it lapsed in March 2009. This was never done. Reply to question 224 of 2013

In further parliamentary questions, the response from the Department of Cooperative Governance was that “the matter is between the ANC and the Blue Crane Route Municipality and that the Department has no jurisdiction over the matter.”  Reply to question 164 Pearston constituency office

This matter deals with public funds that are owed to the municipality. The fact that the department is avoiding the questions by saying that they do not have jurisdiction is utterly unacceptable. It is clear that the department and BCRM are avoiding accountability to the public and specifically the residents of Pearston.

The fact is that the ANC is making free use of municipal office space. No revenue is collected for water, electricity or in terms of the lease agreement. This estimated R114 000 could have gone a long way in assisting the residents of Pearston, jobs could have been created and failing infrastructure could have been repaired.

The town is still suffering from flood damage from 2010. Damaged bridges and subsequent exposed sewerage pipes have never been repaired. This has also not been budgeted for in the new IDP (Integrated Development Plan), in either the short or the medium term.

I have written to the MEC of Cooperative Governance, Fikile Xasa, as well as the BCRM CFO and Municipal Manager to remedy the situation by collecting the arrear debts with interest, reviewing the lease agreement and/or evicting the ANC from the office space as they are in default of the lease agreement as soon as possible.

Failing to do so the DA will consider taking legal action in order to force the municipality to carry out its administrative duties in terms of The Municipal Systems Act and The Municipal Finance Management Act.

The DA councillors in BCRM will once again take up this issue on municipal level as well.  — Vicky Knoetze, MPL and Zuurberg Constituency Leader