Polokwane ratepayers and consumers owed the municipality a staggering amount of R622 457 871 at the closing of the 2014/15 financial year ending on 30 June 2015. This included an amount of more than R200 000 on an overdue account of the African National Congress (ANC) Limpopo that was payable at the end of May this year.
Polokwane Observer was made aware of an amount of R202 793,75 that was due by the ANC Limpopo in respect of a house at 29A President Kruger Street in Polokwane, that is used for office purposes and is known as Peter Mokaba House. The date of the account is 10 May 2015 and reflects that an amount of R186 500,67 is in arrears.
A visit to the ANC offices confirmed that it is still business as usual there and that the municipality has not terminated services to the premises, as should be done in the case of defaulters who do not make acceptable arrangements for payment of accounts in arrears. Confirmation could not be obtained from the municipality whether any arrangements were made.
At the municipal council meeting that took place last Thursday, a report was tabled in which the “Top 100 Defaulters” were reflected, but the details of the ANC’s overdue account surprisingly do not appear on the list.
The report also stated that the municipality has handed accounts amounting to
R380 094 992 to two debt collectors and that an amount of R250 010 011 has been collected, of which R 13 936 982 was collected in June 2015. The report that served before council also reflects that during June the water and electricity supply was restricted to consumers that were in default for accounts totalling R12 456 689.
Other political parties represented in the council, reacted to the situation and Modiba Sedibane, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) councillor, said that if the allegation is true, it amounts to an extreme abuse of power that cannot be tolerated. “You cannot officiate corruption,” Sedibane reckoned.
Frank Haas, Democratic Alliance (DA) Caucus Leader in the council, said that this state of affairs is totally unacceptable and highly irregular. “We are all equal under the law and there is no reason that anyone should receive preferential treatment. Why were they not cut off like everyone else and why was it not disclosed in the Top 100 defaulters list,” Haas commented.
Johan Willemse, Freedom Front Plus councillor, said that the matter should receive immediate attention and that the ANC is morally bound to meet its obligations towards the municipality and set an example to other ratepayers.
“If the ANC does not pay their dues to the municipality, all the ANC members in the council are responsible and should ensure compliance,” Willemse said.
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, ANC Provincial Spokesperson, commented as follows: “The ANC Limpopo, including its Peter Mokaba Region, is not aware of any account outstanding with the Polokwane Municipality. As far as we are aware, all the ANC accounts are up to date as it relates to payment. This fact is reflected in our latest Municipal Statements. Unfortunately, the timing of your enquiry and deadline for printing does not allow us (the ANC) to enquire with the Municipality on the specific account you have reflected in your enquiry. However, the ANC is not aware of this account.”
Tidimalo Chuene, Communications and Marketing Manager of the municipality, undertook to provide comment but it was still outstanding at time of going to print. She telephonically confirmed that officials are verifying the information.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN