Jacob Khawe
The days of not paying for electricity, water, rates and other municipal services could soon be a thing of the past for residents under Emfuleni municipality. This is the warning by the newly appointed mayor Jacob Khawe. He has also vowed to clamp down on municipal officials wasting public funds.

“One of the things we have to get right is revenue collection and protection,” he said. “Protection means there must not be wasteful expenditure, irregular expenditure and there must not be fruitless expenditure,” Khawe said, speaking to The Sunday Independent on Thursday.

Khawe warned that the payment for services was non-negotiable. He has already told his committee to come up with plans to resolve the water crisis in Emfuleni by settling its debt with Rand Water.

“But if you collect and you don’t protect the revenue, you will spend money where you are not supposed to be spending. Those who have arrangements to pay, we must encourage them to pay us.”

Khawe was appointed following the sacking of disgraced mayor Simon Mofokeng, who gained notoriety for a string of scandals, including the alleged sexual grooming of a 14-year-old girl and splurging about R1.7 million of taxpayers’ money on KFC. This has left the cash-strapped municipality almost bankrupt, with residents bearing the brunt as they struggle to access basic services.

Wasteful and fruitless expenditure and poor revenue collection are among the problems the auditor-general has flagged in his report into Emfuleni.

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“These three things are in an auditor-general’s report. And we are not strong as a city to eradicate the three problems. For revenue collection, we need to get everybody who is employed, including the employees of Emfuleni to pay. I said to the municipal manager, he must start first with the municipality and check people - the non-payers.”

The former member of the Gauteng Legislature and chairman of the Transport and Infrastructure portfolio, said under his leadership residents can expect a new approach to how things are run at the crisis-ridden municipality, and an end to the years of maladministration and mismanagement that occurred under Mofokeng’s watch.

“There has been government and leadership in Emfuleni. So what I’m bringing is new energy and different approach...

“But there are certain things that are not correct. One of those is fundamental, administration and the type of behaviour of the council officials and the fact that we have too many people who are in acting capacities. It brings uncertainty.”

Apart from the alleged sexual grooming and KFC scandal, Mofokeng was also allegedly using the municipality’s security to guard his private guesthouse in Vanderbijlpark. Khawe said he had terminated the contract between the Emfuleni municipality security and Mofokeng following a complaint by the DA this past week. The DA had also complained that Mofokeng was still enjoying VIP protection.

“When I read about it in the newspapers, the first thing I did was to call the head of security and asked him what the contract is. And I told them: ‘You guys failed to manage the contract. If the contract gives you nine buildings to guard and these buildings are Emfuleni’s authority to guard, you must guard nine. If one of the buildings is no longer under you to guard, you don’t guard’.”

Khawe lauded Mofokeng for resigning and cautioned that the scandals were currently mere allegations.

“Mofokeng did well to resign so that he can clear his name. But these are allegations, let’s wait for the right time to comment. I am an advocate and I don’t support abuse of children and women.

“I really hate somebody who goes for children, and I speak this as a father of girls, and I also speak as an activist if it was true it shouldn’t have been allowed to happen. Our children deserve a better future.”

Sunday Independent