Municipality launches financial turnaround strategy

Illustration photo
Illustration photo

The Merafong City Local Municipality has launched a turnaround strategy to try and get its finances in order.

This will include, among other things, ensuring that all residents pay for the services they use.
On 27 September, all councillors and officials who form part of the municipal management held a workshop to discuss the way forward. The municipal finances have been in a dismal state up to now. This followed an urgent council meeting on 27 September during which the interventions that had to be taken were discussed.
The effective implementation of credit control, the inspection and removal of by-passed pre-paid electricity meters and the repair of water leaks came under the spotlight. During this meeting, it emerged that the average payment level of residents was only 73,90 per cent, which is much lower than the 85 per cent required to enable
the council to fulfil its duties according to the Constitution.
It also came to light that, among other things, a total of 6 418 pre-paid electricity meters had been by-passed by the end of August. For the 2016/17 municipal financial year, the total rand value of the electricity losses were R60 778 294. In the same period, the council could not account for 43,32 per cent of its water, with a total
rand value of R42 485 098.
By plugging these holes, the municipality would easily be able to ensure that the outstanding Eskom account is brought up to date and settled every month.
These missing funds, together with the huge amounts lost as a result of the situation at Blyvoor and the mines winning a court case that amended the valuations of their properties, have placed Merafong’s financial well-being at considerable risk.
To deal with these serious matters, the council has also decided to develop a new communication strategy in conjunction with the offices of the speaker and the premier, respectively, the appointment of electrical and plumbing contractors and legal representatives to assist with debt collection.
It will also request Rand Water to assist with the repair of water leaks.
Stricter measures will also be taken to get all residents to pay for the services they use. Pre-paid electricity and water meters will be installed for approved indigent consumers and the specifications for all future developments must include the installation of pre-paid water meters.
Service providers will also be appointed to install smart meters to measure accounts more accurately and solar geysers in low-cost houses.
From now on, by-passed pre-paid meters will be inspected and water leaks repaired.
The municipality will also investigate the possibility of installing pre-paid water meters in individual houses.
A review will also be done of the outcome of the Valuation Appeal Board’s decision while the supplementary valuation roll must also be finalised and implemented.

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