This is a joint media statement by the Emfuleni Ratepayers’ Association (“ERPA”), the Vereeniging Business Co-Operation (“VBC”) and the Golden Triangle Chamber of Commerce (“GTCOC”) pursuant to a meeting held on 16 November 2022 with the Emfuleni Local Municipality(“ELM”) Mayoral Committee and Administration Team.
Photo 1: Kobus van Rensburg, Chairperson of the Emfuleni Rate Payers Association (ERPA) addressing a recent meeting held in Mafube.
Organized business and Ratepayer representatives attended the meeting to join hands with ELM to resolve serious service delivery challenges.
In the meeting, business and ratepayers raised the following issues: 1. Lack of efficient basic services 2. Unjustified rates and tariff increases 3. Absence of political willingness to turn the dysfunctional state of public service delivery around 4. Lack of consequence management 5. Financial mismanagement 6. Loss of more than 50% of saleable water due to runaway infrastructure failure, which loss gets charged back to ratepayers 7. Failure to address sewerage blockage issues and water and sanitation infrastructure failures 8. Lack of by-law enforcement 9. Fraudulent billing 10. Failure to engage with business and unwillingness to formalise a memorandum of understanding with business and ratepayers for the last five years.
Ratepayers and business wish to categorically state that the meeting did not bear any positive results, apart from a priority meeting which is scheduled for 22 November 2022.
All attempts by business and ratepayers towards assisting ELM in any way, over that past decade, has been futile, fraught with deliberate procrastination and denial.
The section 139 intervention by the Gauteng Provincial Government was a complete disaster, which left ELM with a R3.5 billion outstanding debt to Rand Water Board, R5.5 billion outstanding debt to Eskom and significant deterioration in public service delivery, commensurate with an apocalyptic decay in infrastructure.
Similarly, the Section 63 intervention by the Department of Water and Sanitation and its subsequent deployment of SANDF, ERWAT and Rand Water for management of the Vaal River sewerage crisis has failed to resolve any of the water and sewer challenges within Emfuleni, despite presentations of credible solutions from the private sector.
Business and ratepayers are appealing to the President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, and National Government to acknowledge that for residents to reside under such conditions is a violation of our human rights and to declare the Emfuleni region as a human rights disaster. Under the provisions of the Constitution, national government is obliged to intervene and ensure that the basic constitutional rights of its citizens are redressed.
On this premise, we therefore call upon President Ramaphosa to urgently dissolve the delinquent, distressed and dysfunctional Emfuleni Local Municipality and an equally incompetent Council.
Photo 2: The Emfuleni team at the recent meeting in Mafube.
Over 900 businesses and 12 000 ratepayers are mobilizing to withhold rates and taxes until the status quo is redressed. Business and ERPA are calling upon all ratepayers to immediately withhold the payment of rates and taxes to ELM until the President and National Government intervenes in this compounding human rights disaster.
Only if the deliverables and milestones have been reached which is set for the priority committees’ urgent incorporation will the above payment retention be averted, failing which, Ratepayers and Business will be compelled to institute even greater and more stringent alternative solutions.