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Over recent months, the Newcastle Municipality and other KwaZulu-Natal municipalities have received a lot of flak from their respective communities, as well as from Provincial and National government entities.
However, Newcastle Municipality has received some form of recognition for its efforts in addressing its financial standing.
This follows Thami Ntuli, the KZN chair for the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), defending the debt control stance taken by certain local municipalities who have resorted to disconnecting both businesses and government departments that have defaulted on their services and rates accounts.
Speaking at the organisation’s provincial assembly in Empangeni, hosting 54 mayors and their municipal managers, Ntuli commended the mayors of four municipalities.
These municipalities included Greater Kokstad, Msunduzi, Newcastle and uMngeni, which have raked in millions by switching off services to those in debt.
Ntuli further said the move had become a rather prickly issue in recent meetings between the respective mayors and KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (KZN COGTA), Sihle Zikalala.
“Mayors were unequivocal and stood their ground. School governing bodies and hospital CEOs get allocated funding for municipal services, however, this money is diverted to other priorities. This becomes unfair,” noted Ntuli.
While Zikalala has resolved to set up a war room to deal with the issue, Ntuli said that it was concerning that the provincial government was charged with the responsibility to help municipalities—emphasising that it should be a cause of concern to the provincial treasury that some bills went unpaid by councils.
With this in mind, what are your thoughts and have a great week!
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