NCOP could rope in NPA over Free State municipalities' troubles

───   LUCKY NKUYANE 13:21 Wed, 30 Mar 2022

NCOP could rope in NPA over Free State municipalities' troubles | News Article

The National Council of Provinces' (NCOP) select committee, which is currently crisscrossing the Free State, has hinted that chapter nine institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) could be called to assist with allegations.

The permanent delegate to the NCOP from the Free State, Itumeleng Ntsube, who is chairing these oversight visits in the Free State over five days, says if found that there are gross mismanagement and misconduct in municipalities, the NCOP has powers to call the NPA to hold those allegedly responsible, accountable as part of it's intervention.  He was reacting to a statement uttered by the Trompsburg-based Kopanong Mayor, Xolani Tseletsele, that he suspected that there was serious gross mismanagement of funds by the previous regime in that municipality. Ntsube says they have embarked on these oversight visits to get to the real issues of water and sanitation, amongst others, which continue to besiege and trouble the residents in these towns.

“When we make recommendations to the national spheres of government, we would have then, as the delegation, decisively dealt with [these issues]. For instance, the mayor of Kopanong has said that the municipality is deteriorating - politically and administratively - because its collapsing, whereby you find that the salary bill has been increased by an individual from R6 million to R14 million, unjustifiably so,” he says.

OFM News previously reported that the Mangaung Metro Municipality, the Masilonyana Municipality, and the Kopanong Municipality made presentations to members of this Select Committee, amongst others on water and sanitation, at the Provincial Legislature's Fourth Raadsaal.

Also read: Ailing Free State municipalities appear before NCOP

Ntsube told OFM News that with regard to the financial issues of Kopanong, that “if the salary bill increases it would mean that you must have more workers. The numbers of workers, however, remain the same and that is shocking. He has said that he believes that there are corrupt individuals who came in before that must account for the deteriorating state of the Kopanong Municipality”.

OFM News has on many occasions written about the financial distress of the municipality, which even led to its account being attached by the Free State High Court for failure to comply with its debt commitments to third parties, with debt of at least R26 million.

Also read: FS municipality's account attached yet again

Ntsube further said: “Again, we came here to urge municipalities to pay the water boards, such as Bloem Water in particular, for outstanding amounts owed to them because it does not get any grant from the state, therefore, it operates from what it gets from municipalities for the services provided.

"So, if your municipalities are not able to pay Bloem Water, it would then mean that Bloem Water’s operations are not being fulfilled and if not fulfilled it would mean that the majority of the people in the Free State, in particular Mangaung and Kopanong, would not have water and what does that mean? It means that we have now, as the state, violated human rights,” he adds.

Bloem Water on Monday informed the NCOP sitting that the non-payment by municipalities, which include the Mangaung Metro and the Trompsburg-based Kopanong Local Municipality, poses a serious challenge for the water board.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Limakatso Moorosi, reminded the House that the total debt by the Free State municipality to the institution is more than R1 billion. She says Kopanong owes R500 million, whilst Mangaung is at least now adhering to its payment commitment of R2 million.
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