Premier Mabuza draws battle lines on mayors and municipalities with disclaimers from the Auditor-General
2 Jun 2012
An angry Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza on Friday gave a tongue-lashing to all the mayors saying that there will be serious consequences if their municipalities continued to receive the disclaimers from the Auditor-General.
Addressing the Premier’s Coordinating Forum in Mbombela, Premier Mabuza was very explicit that heads will roll for the mayors and municipal managers if their municipalities received adverse opinion from the Auditor.
“It cannot happen that we fail to account for public finances when people out there are demanding services. With the disclaimers, it means the Auditor-General cannot even make an opinion.
“The least we can accept are the qualified reports which we still have to deal with in line with operation clean audit 2014. We cannot afford to treat our people that way,” said the Premier.
The Premier’s Coordinating Forum is a platform created by the Premier to coordinate programmes of government across all the municipalities including the districts.
It is mainly attended by executive mayors and municipal managers including those from the district municipalities. The heads of the provincial departments are part of this forum. From time-to-time external stakeholders get invited to make presentations depending on the agenda.
The Premier’s tongue-lashing followed a concise report by the Auditor-General Terrance Nombembe at the meeting that at least six municipalities in Mpumalanga received the disclaimers. The Auditor-General is expected to present a general national report towards the end of July this year.
Premier Mabuza gave a stern warning that in the next financial year, serious action as recommended by the Auditor-General would be taken against those mayors and municipal managers who would have received the disclaimers.
He went on to say vacancies in the municipalities needed to the filled in as such also contributed in the municipalities’ poor performance.
“We do not deserve to be called leaders because some of us do so only when it suits them, but if things are bad, they run away. This tells me that some of my colleagues do not even worry about going down to their officials to check what is going on.
“We must make a difference in the people’s lives. People must believe that there is leadership. They elected us because they trusted us, therefore let us go and meet their expectations.
“We must always ensure that people always have confidence in us as their elected servants, upon whom they have entrusted us with an overwhelming mandate to change their living conditions for the better and pull them out of the vicious circle of poverty as soon as we practically can,” said the Premier.
The Premier went further to challenge the municipalities to honour their debts they owed Eskom for electricity, adding that they should stop being “arrogant” but should respect each other as leaders in their different sectors.
He urged municipalities to settle their outstanding accounts with Eskom. He directed all government departments to pay their outstanding water and lights bills in an effort to boost municipalities ‘revenue in order for them to be able to deliver much-needed services to the public.
He highlighted that when municipalities did not pay Eskom, the electricity utility company would eventually be forced to cut-off the electricity supply to the culprit municipalities which would precipitate a crisis and adversely affect the public including innocent people.
This, he said after Eskom had reported that it was owed more than R200 million by the municipalities in the province. Eskom had also complained about equipment theft and illegal connections that it did not only risked the lives of the people but it also created a network and power supply instability.
“I do not like this continuous threat by Eskom of electricity cut-offs due to non-payment which is something that could be avoided, when we have leaders who are supposed to manage that situation on behalf of our people. Therefore we must take it upon ourselves that we are going to honour our debts to ensure power grid stability in the province.
“It is about time that we should undermine these little things which cause friction between ourselves, they divide and distract us from achieving our mandate and people look at us as fools,” he said.
Regarding the illegal connections, the Premier said municipalities and Eskom needed to take decisive steps, to invade and deal with those who were stealing electricity. He further made a clarion call to communities to desist and report those who were embarking on illegal connections.
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Issued by: Mpumalanga Office of the Premier
2 Jun 2012
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