On 28 April this year, Mafube Business Forum (MBF) obtained a High Court order compelling the Free State provincial government to impose section 139 mandatory intervention at Mafube Local Municipality (MLM).
An “administrator” (or Lead Provincial Executive Council Representative) was subsequently appointed and much engagement with various stakeholders took place. Many meetings later, MBF’s proposals were eventually accepted, paving the way forward for normalising the affairs of the municipality; particularly in terms of financial oversight and revenue collection. An extensive plan was put to table which would have greatly assisted MLM in sustainable and cost-effective revenue collection.
Towards the end of August, it became apparent that the initial progress was stalling. The administrator attributed this to a lack of support for the intervention team from the Provincial EXCO. On a request from the administrator and being fully committed, MBF requested to urgently meet with the Premier and her team. A trip to Bloemfontein followed after an appointment was arranged very early on the morning of 30 August. The meeting failed to deliver answers to important questions asked, pertaining to the intervention at MLM. It became clear that there was still no Municipal Financial Recovery Plan in place as ordered by the High Court. No satisfactory answers could be given regarding the dumping of sewerage into the water sources of Mafube, despite the order granted on 28 April, that it should cease “immediately”.
Subsequent to the Bloemfontein meeting, the administrator reneged on his promise to have regular meetings with MBF and since broke off all communication. MBF were later to learn from an article in the Frankfort Herald of 23 September, that no consideration will be given by MLM (and the intervention team) to the MBF proposal for revenue collection and administration thereof. This is contrary to the joint statement issued and published in the Frankfort Herald of 26 August.
MBF are of the view that the cynical actions of politicians and officials are motivated purely by self-interest, devoid of accountability and integrity, and are certainly not in the interest of the community at large. Amid municipal services that continue to deteriorate and further frustrate residents, MBF is currently considering other legal routes.
An SMS opinion poll was sent out to MBF members, the final result of which will be announced soon.
Residents, business owners and ratepayers are welcome to visit our offices at 18A Church Street during our business hours, on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays from 08h30 to 12h30, or contact Marina on WhatsApp at 079 145 4295. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org