Sheriff to seize municipality vehicles

The sheriff at Theunissen in the Free State plans to seize five vehicles of the Masilonyana Local Municipality to pay the municipality's debt to three companies, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

The auction of the vehicles was advertised to take place on February 6 at the sheriff's office in Theunissen, said Phillip Botha, DA councillor at the municipality.

He said this was not the only financial woe the municipality was facing. The Johannesburg High Court ordered the municipality last year to pay monies, apparently about R1-million, it owed to the Municipal Pension Fund.

Botha said the money was allegedly deducted from municipal worker's salaries but never paid to the fund.

The municipality encompasses Theunissen, Brandfort, Winburg, Soutpan and Verkeerdevlei.

Botha said the matter involving the workers pension money should be investigated by the Free State MEC for local government, Joel Mafereka.

"We urge the MEC for local government to urgently take action in regard the financial crisis," Botha said in a statement.

The DA said municipal manager Maboe Phike had sent out a letter to all the municipality's creditors in October 2008 infroming them that it could not pay its bills.

Botha said the council also voted that the municipality could get a bank overdraft of R7-million, which had since increased to R11,5-million.

"This whole amount must be discharged by the end of May this year." He said the situation had led to the municipality's telephone services being stopped due to non-payment.

He said the municipality was owed about R181-million by defaulters but no effort was made to collect the money.

When asked for comment on the situation, Masilonyana municipal manager Maboe Phike said she could not react to the DA's comments immediately.

She said due to the political nature of the comments she would rather refer the questions to Masilonyana mayor, Steven Koalane. - Sapa