Unpaid service providers in Ekurhuleni stage protest

Published Feb 2, 2024


Sipho Jack

Unpaid Ekurhuleni service providers closed down dumpsites and parked trucks in demonstration against the unsatisfactory treatment they were getting from the municipality.

One of the service providers, Meshack Noko, said he was fed up with the municipality’s excuses, saying that he was there working for his family.

“It’s been months now since my invoices have not been paid, how do they expect us to continue providing services to the city while they are not paying? If the payment is late one must continuously fight for what they have worked hard for,” Noko added.

ANC caucus whip Jongizizwe Dlabathi confirmed that they were aware of the situation, saying that it was only not limited to dumpsites, but to some of the waste collection service providers.

“Our view is that we should strive to prioritise the servicing of payment obligations that are core to the provision of basic services, like energy, water, sanitation, and waste collection.

“Where there are instances of payment disputes and payment challenges, such should be addressed expeditiously and through amicable arrangements,” Dlabathi said.

The caucus whip said while they acknowledge that there were various factors within and outside the City’s control, the City has, however, not properly focused on the implementation of well-defined and broad revenue enhancement initiatives.

Dlabathi continued to say that prudent financial management, as well as cash flow management, were some of the areas that required better focus and strong leadership, adding that was something the current administration was lacking.

The metro’s spokesperson, Zweli Dlamini, said the municipality was aware of the message, but he denied that the dumpsites were closed down.

When asked how sure he was, Dlamini later said it would have been unlawful to do so as the dumpsites were public facilities.

“Look, people can’t decide to close a public dumpsite. I mean, residents are driving there to take their refuse, how do you then close off the site?” asked the spokesperson.

This comes against the backdrop of the metro’s MMC for finance’s failure to present the auditor-general’s report at the past council seating.

In terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), the mayor must, within seven months of the end of a financial year, table in the municipal council annual report of the municipality at the end of January, which the council must consider by no later than two months from the date on which the annual report was tabled in council.