Pretoria - The R4.3-billion deficit allegedly left in the Tshwane municipal coffers by the administrators deployed by the ANC-Gauteng provincial government last year, featured as one of the DA’s big election campaign issues yesterday.
This was during the party’s Tshwane manifesto launch at the Union Buildings ahead of the local government elections on November 1.
DA mayoral candidate Randall Williams capitalised on the deficit of billions of rands to bash the ANC for failing to provide services to residents.
This was despite Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile rejecting the claims about the deficit on Wednesday, saying the municipality had a surplus of R600 million when the administrators left office.
The administrators were deployed to take charge of the metro after the provincial executive council decided, on March 4 last year, to dissolve Tshwane council. Maile slated the DA for failing to report such an astronomical financial loss to the municipality to either the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, or President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Addressing a crowd of DA supporters clad in blue T-shirts, Williams said: “Under eight months of ANC rule in Tshwane we know that basic service delivery has effectively ceased due to lack of internal control and oversight.” He was referring to the administrators’ tenure in office last year before the Supreme Court of Appeal nullified the decision to dissolve the council and appointed them to run the metro.
The ruling was affirmed by the Constitutional Court this week.
Williams said: “In just eight months they plunged the city into financial ruin, taking a DA surplus and turning it into a R4.3bn deficit.”
He said that under the administrators the grass in parks and cemeteries was not cut, faulty street-lights plunged the neighbourhood into darkness and electricity and water outages took days to attend to.
He also used the opportunity to outline the DA’s ten key points his administrators would use to drive change in Tshwane should it emerge victorious during municipal elections. One of the points was the prioritisation of the electrical grid and water infrastructure, citing that the city would invest in the development of new substations to support growth.
“We must also ensure that our response times to 90% of electricity outages are resolved within a maximum of eight hours,” he said. Water leaks would be prevented by large-scale replacement of ageing city water pipes and reticulation infrastructure to provide quality water to residents.
Stringent financial management and oversight would be provided as one of the key drivers of change in the municipality. Billing issues, which include inaccurate municipal bills, would be addressed to ensure that residents pay for the services they receive from the metro. A new black-listing strategy would be employed to hold service providers to account for providing poor services to the city, Williams said.