An Emfuleni municipal building has had to be closed down by occupational health officers for the second time this year due to a sewer pump not working. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)

Vereeniging - The cash-strapped African National Congress-led Emfuleni Local Municipality owes service providers R1 960 899 877, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

This was revealed by Gauteng cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Lebogang Maile in a written reply to questions tabled in the Gauteng provincial legislature, DA Gauteng MPL Kingsol Chabalala said in a statement.

According to MEC Maile, the service providers owed by Emfuleni included Eskom, Rand Water, vehicle leasing services, legal services, security companies, car dealerships, and fuel service stations.

Furthermore, Sedibeng District Municipality owed service providers R200 866 119 and Lesedi Local Municipality owed R3 658 020.

The reasons given by the MEC on why these municipalities were failing to pay debt owed to service providers were that both Emfuleni and Sedibeng were facing cash flow constraints.

"These cash flow constraints in these municipalities are as result of corruption, maladministration, and a lack of consequence management. The embattled Emfuleni is struggling to pay debt owed to Eskom and Rand Water as well as struggling to deliver basic services such as sanitation and refuse removal. The residents are suffering and bearing the consequences of maladministration which is unfair," Chabalala said.

Emfuleni had been under provincial intervention since June 2018 and partial administration since March 2019, but it had not yet shown any improvements in terms of cash flow, reducing debt, and the delivery of basic services.

The DA called on Maile to urgently place the failing Emfuleni under full administration, in terms of section 139 (1) (c) of the Constitution, as service delivery had completely collapsed. Maile should also monitor cash flows in Sedibeng and Lesedi to ensure that service providers were paid within 30 days.

"We will continue to put pressure on MEC Maile to fully place Emfuleni under administration and to monitor the progress of the payments of these debts owed to service providers by the Sedibeng and Lesedi municipalities," Chabalala said.

African News Agency (ANA)