Parliament calls for solutions from Amathole District Municipality
Cape Town - Parliament has urged the cash-strapped Amathole District Municipality to find a solution to its financial woes that have seemingly threatened its ability to pay salaries in the next four months.
This comes after the municipality on January 7 notified councillors, employees and traditional leaders that it would be unable to pay the salaries for February, April, May and June.
The municipality needs a staggering R411 million for its salary bill with at least R65m for the next four months.
In its circular, it said its cash-flow projections for the remainder of the financial year showed that it would not honour the payment of salaries.
"You are further advised to consult all your creditors and advise them accordingly," municipal manager Thandekile Mnyiba wrote to its more than 56 public representatives and the 1 461-strong workforce when painting the sorry state of finances.
The municipality, which was fingered by the late auditor-general Kimi Makwetu as the top spender on consultants and salaries, claimed to have exhausted its financial reserves.
It had blamed its financial hardships on low revenue collection, drought, Covid-19 pandemic and bloated personnel that was beyond the norm.
On Tuesday, cooperative governance and traditional affairs portfolio chairperson Faith Muthambi urged the leaders and managers of Amathole District Municipality to find solutions to its financial and budgetary problems.
“The non-payment of salaries to the staff is inadvertently going to affect the delivery of services to the people, a constitutional responsibility for which the municipality exists.
"We are calling on the leadership and the management of the municipality to rise to the occasion and find solutions to the problems,” Muthambi said.
She also said the non-payment of salaries, even for one month, was a very serious problem with unspeakable implications.
“The committee hopes that the problem is not beyond the capacity of the council and the management of the municipality,” Muthambi said.