Community Municipal News

TCLM: “Operational existence for the foreseeable future?”

Michele du Plessis

On the South African National Treasury Department website the unaudited “Thaba Chweu Local Municipality Annual Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2019” was published. GPS News submitted questions to TCLM on February 4th concerning the report. “We will forward you a comprehensive statement regarding this matter in due time,” Themba Sibiya, Communications Manager, TCLM said.

“The accounting officer has reviewed the municipality’s cash flow forecast for the year to 30 June 2020 and, in the light of this review and the current financial position, she is satisfied that the municipality has or has access to adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future,” Ms SS Matsi, Acting Accounting Officer wrote in the report.

TCLM receives government grants and subsidies. On page 53, no 22. The total received in the financial year of 2018/19 amounts to R145 956 614.00. Capital grants added R62 692 575.00, bringing the total to R208 649 189.00. According to the report, the grants are to provide basic services to indigent community members, construction of roads, basic sewage and water infrastructure as part of the upgrading of poor households, to provide for new, rehabilitation and upgrading of municipal infrastructure and more. QUESTION: How did TCLM utilize this grant?

Page 55 no 23 Fines, Penalties and Forfeits: The amount for Illegal Connections Fines is R 342 519.00. There are illegal connections all over and at one stage TCLM gave the illegal connections the blame for the astronomical Eskom debt. QUESTION: If fines are given for the prolific illegal connections, why is it such a small amount?

Page 56 no 25: Remuneration of Municipal Manager. The MM’s annual salary, including allowances, is R1 898 389.00. The remuneration of the CFO is R 1 084 337.00 per annum and the list goes on.

If TCLM was a functioning municipality with a proper infrastructure, no accounts in arrears {ref to the Eskom account, for one}, RDP houses with electricity, sewage, water and most indigent residents had access to potable water, electricity et al, there would be no questions asked why the MM and so forth is earning these salaries. It would have meant that they obviously had the best interests of the citizens and that of the towns at heart and were working tirelessly to keep the municipality up and running. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. QUESTION: What are these top officials doing to justify these salaries?

Page 57 no 26: R10 766 748.00 Remuneration for councillors. Ordinary councillors received R6 411 165.00. QUESTION: Once again: is this justified? What are the roles of the councillors?

Page 57 In-kind benefits: “The Executive Mayor, Speaker, Chief Whip, Portfolio Chairperson, MPAC and Mayoral Committee Members are full-time. Each is provided with an office and secretarial support at the cost of the Council. The Executive Mayor has use of a Council owned vehicle for official duties and has two full-time bodyguards.” QUESTION: Are two full-time bodyguards needed?

Page 65 no 41: Fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Irregular expenditure for the financial year ending in June 2019: R32 601 599.00 for the year. QUESTION: What was and is being done to curb this wasteful, fruitless and irregular spending? Who will be held responsible for this?

Page 69 no 45: Investigation of senior manager: R256 357.00. QUESTION: What was the outcome of this investigation and who conducted the investigation? Will the findings be made public?

Page 70 no 45: Accommodation for employees attending the SAIMSA Games in Swaziland: R184 160.00 and Catering for SAIMSA Games R142 500.00. QUESTION: How many employees attended and for how many nights was the accommodation?

Many more questions need to be asked as this 76-page report contains notable figures and comments. Hopefully, GPS News will receive the comprehensive statement as promised by Mr Sibiya and it will be published in a next edition of GPS News.


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