Covid-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on Gauteng municipality coffers
Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance, Lebogang Maile, has warned of the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that in four months, municipalities lost R8.9 billion.
Maile told the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday that while most of the municipalities in the province received unqualified audit opinions from the Auditor-General, the damage caused by Covid-19 has left a trail of destruction in the finances of municipalities.
"The impact of Covid-19 has had in our municipalities collectively they have lost R8.9bn over the last four months," said Maile.
The provincial MECs of Cogta were briefing the NCOP on municipalities in their provinces under administration.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma had on Tuesday told the NCOP there were 46 municipalities that were put under administration.
The MECs said most of the municipalities under the Section 139 intervention were because of a number of reasons ranging from financial mismanagement to political instability.
In some of the municipalities their finances are so bad they cannot afford to pay Eskom.
MECs in North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State also told the Chamber they needed to fix a number of these challenges to get the municipalities back on track.
Free State MEC for Cogta Skully Thembeni Nxangisa said the report of the Auditor-General had painted a gloomy picture on some of the finances of municipalities.
This was after AG Kimi Makwetu released the audit report on the state of municipalities.
"The Auditor-General indicated that there is a collapse of prudent measures in the Free State municipalities. Both political and administrative leadership failed to implement measures to improve oversight, accountability and remedial action," he said.
Mpumalanga Cogta MEC Mandla Msibi also told the council they had been dealing with municipalities under section 139.
Some of the municipalities owed Eskom billions of rands.
Eskom has been complaining about the spiralling debt of municipalities.
It recently attached the bank accounts of Maluti-a-Phofung and Mathjabeng municipalities, both in the Free State, after the court order.
Maluti-a-Phonfung owes Eskom R5 billion and Mathjabeng owes R3.4bn.
Eskom said on Sunday municipalities owed R31bn as at the end of July.