These were the words of Adv. Bejile Mene who represented the Mafube Local Municipality (MLM) in January 2022 in the Bloemfontein High Court. It could possibly be considered fair towards the current Council, who at that stage had only been in power for about 2 months, but it is telling that even the municipality's legal representative expressed his reservations in this way!
It is now clear that the Council was given enough time. After 18 months, there is still a service delivery crisis and municipal workers have not received their salaries for the umpteenth time. Instead of adhering to cost containment measures and financial discipline, large sums of money are spent on e.g. renting luxury vehicles for politicians, while salaries cannot be paid.
Last week, the ANC-controlled Council of MLM approved an unfunded budget, simply because in terms of the Municipal Financial Management Act, this must be done before 1st June each year to prevent dissolution of the Council. As previously reported, this budget is worthless because it relies on unrealistic revenue collection and cash flow expectations. No effort was made to determine actual costs of service delivery and interest on municipal debt and many of the legal provisions that must accompany a municipal budget were also ignored.
Because the council has not been dissolved, the provincial authorities must accept responsibility for measures to ensure service delivery to the community. It is astonishing that the administrator who must ensure that Treasury regulations are complied with, ignored his own Terms of Reference according to which the 2023/4 budget must be funded. The above confirms that the Council of MLM and provincial intervention has failed. MBF is currently considering taking further legal action which is likely to include personal costs orders to impose liability on the officials involved.
Visit our offices at 18A Church Street, Frankfort on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays 08h30 to 12h00. Call or send a WhatsApp message to Marina on 079 145 4295. Visit our website www.mafubebf.org and follow us on Facebook.