Frances Baard District Municipality will give Dikgatlong Local Municipality a R1 million bailout to keep the lights on.

Eskom announced that it would interrupt the bulk electricity supply as of on Tuesday as the municipality is in arrears in excess of R61.5 million.

Frances Baard municipal manager, Mamikie Bogatsu, (pictured) during the budget speech on Tuesday stated that they had received a request from the municipality for assistance.

“We have checked through our savings and we will be able to assist the municipality with R1 million that will be paid directly to Eskom.”

EFF chief whip AM Siwisa pointed out that while it was the duty of the district municipality to assist local municipalities, Dikgatlong Municipality had to be closely monitored in how it was spending its revenue.

“It will not stop them from asking for more money at a later stage. We need to ensure that they stay on the correct path. We cannot leave the community in the dark for a long time if the municipality is incapable of managing its funds. The same measures must be implemented at Dikgatlong Municipality as Magareng Municipality.”

Siwisa added that “babysitting” local municipalities would not improve service delivery, if there was a lack of capacity.

“We hope that the proposed cost-containment measures will not only be something we see on paper, but is properly implemented.”

She also pointed out that no mention had been made in the budget speech regarding the storm drainage or the poor state of the roads in the Sol Plaatje municipal district.

Siwisa added that there was a serious crisis at Dikgatlong and Magareng municipality.

“If you look at the budget, all the district municipalities will receive a budget of R1.7 million even though Sol Plaatje Municipality is doing well. More funds should have been allocated to the two municipalities that are being assisted by the district municipality.

“The distribution of the budget should not be the same across the board. More needs to be done to assist local municipalities by taking them under the wing of the district, although only the provincial legislature can give us those powers.”

DA councillor Shaine Griqua added that more had to be done to ensure that municipalities were sustainable and were able to operate independently.

He also expressed concern over more than 100 000 people who did not have access to basic services.

ANC chief whip Eunice Mathe also reiterated the need to assist struggling municipalities in rural areas.

ANC councillors objected to the withdrawal of funding for the Diamonds and Dorings Festival.

DFA