Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - Gauteng provincial government departments owe local municipalities over R89 million in non-payments for utilities, the main opposition Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

Citing a written response from Gauteng member of the executive council for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Lebogang Maile to questions in the provincial legislature, DA constituency head for Emfuleni North Kingsol Chabalala said the affected municipalities included Emfuleni, Lesedi, Mogale City and Merafong.

Emfuleni was owed the largest sum at R49.6m, with the department of education accounting for R11.3m, while the departments of health and human settlements owed R18.3m and just over R257 000 respectively, Chabalala said in a statement.

Merafong, Mogale and Lesedi were owed R14.2m, nearly R13m and R12.6m respectively.

"Most of these municipalities have unfunded mandates and they have no money to render services to their residents. This money owed to them could help to ease their financial pressure," Chabalala said.

He noted that Emfuleni, for example, was struggling to pay debt owed to power utility Eskom and Rand Water as well as to deliver basic services such as sanitation and refuse removal and urged Maile to intervene to ensure that the arrears were paid to the municipalities.

"The Gauteng provincial government must lead by example in paying for utility debt owed to municipalities so that residents can follow suit," said Chabalala.

African News Agency