The visit to the cash-strapped municipalities will come amidst mounting concerns over water supply by the Mangaung Metro. Residents in most parts of Bloemfontein this week had to brace themselves for reduced water supply as the metro’s water board reinstated water restrictions due to the municipality’s alleged failure to pay its debt. The municipality, which was downgraded to junk status by Moody’s Investors Services, last month is said to be amongst those deepening into a financial crisis. Chief Whip of the NCOP, Seiso Mohai, says they will be engaging the metro as well as the two local municipalities on their increasing debts, poor service delivery, governance issues as well as on their audit outcomes.
He highlights that their week-long visit will centre on how these municipalities implement measures to improve their situation.
The Mangaung Metro Municipality came under much scrutiny when it got downgraded from Ba3 to B3 with a negative outlook that it will be able to fulfill its obligations. It was stated that at the end of June 2019, the metro was owed more than R4 billion, of which 36% was owed by business and government while 64% was owed by residents and other debtors.
While the metro has in recent weeks made national headlines following its downgrade by Moody’s and its court battle with Bloem Water, Setsoto and Mantsopa recently raised the eyebrows over the number of bucket toilets recorded in the province following the release of the Non-financial Census of Municipalities report by Stats SA.
The report indicated that the highest number of consumers still subjected to municipal bucket toilets in South Africa are found in the Free State with twelve municipalities in the province listed to have provided bucket toilets in 2018.
Setsoto is amongst the top three municipalities that recorded the highest number.
Mohai, in an interview with OFM News, confirmed that there is a growing need to improve governance at local level and that there is a need to pay attention to the extent of service delivery provided to communities.