Emfuleni’s poor services mainly due to bad finances

 

VANDERBIJLPARK. – Is the Emfuleni Local Municipality (ELM)’s lack of service delivery a result of a lack of interest and discipline, an absent political will or inadequacy? A combination of these may lie at the basis of the problem, but after the most recent meeting of Emfuleni’s Ward 9 committee, the members came to the conclusion that the lack of services is mainly due to bad finances.

Councillor Yvonne Coertze, Councillor for Ward 9, which includes the Vanderbijlpark areas SW1, SW2, SE1, SE7 and the Vaal University of Technology, invited Councillor Peter Verbeek to give the Ward 9 committee insight into ELM’s finances at their August 2018 meeting. Verbeek is a member of the ELM section 80 Finance Committee and also Councillor for Ward 10.

Mr Johan Sipho Coetzee (Ward 9 Committee member for Finance and Revenue) summarised the ELM financial information provided by Verbeek in the report below and also supplied the graphs that show ELM’s actual monthly income and expenses:

On the income side, ELM has a budget shortfall ranging from R66 million per month in a good month, to R141 million per month in a bad month. On the face of it there seems to be more bad months than good months!

As far as expenditures are concerned, the three main expenses are: Eskom for ELM’s power consumption (R200 million per month); Rand Water for ELM’s water consumption (R90 million per month); and ELM salaries (R85 million per month).

In a good month this only leaves R24 million to provide services to ELM residents and in a bad month ELM runs R51 million short with no money available for services and not enough money to pay Eskom and Rand Water in full.

If one looks at ELMs bad financial position, it is no wonder that the Ward 9 Committee’s ELM service evaluation in August was:

• Refuse is not removed by ELM on time in Ward 9.

• Street lights are not fixed timeously by ELM in Ward 9.

• Water leaks are not fixed timeously by ELM in Ward 9.

• Sewer leaks are not fixed timeously by ELM in Ward 9.

• Crucial service providers to ELM are not paid on time and this negatively affects services in Ward 9.

• ELM bylaws are not enforced timeously by ELM in Ward 9.

• Certain residents are not cut off by ELM in Ward 9 when they are not paying ELM.

In terms of the Gauteng Province involvement with ELM (apparently called an Intervention and not Administration), no financial recovery plan has been received. It is only expected by the end of September. No steering committee or programme per project manager was communicated to drive its implementation. In the opinion of the Ward Committee nothing visibly changed since the Gauteng Province’s “Intervention” at ELM in the first week of June this year.

In the Ward Committee’s opinion the only viable short-term solution to ELM’s problems is to drastically cut ELM’s cost base to allow ELM’s survival.

The logical starting place is the ELM salaries bill (R85 million per month). We want to call on the Executive Mayor again – with reference to the Ward 9 Committee’s individual letter in this regard to the Executive Mayor dated June 13 – on behalf of the residents of our ward and of ELM to ensure the survival of ELM by embarking on an urgent retrenchment exercise of ELM’s staff.

 

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