The Democratic Alliance in eThekwini is deeply concerned by the latest municipal budget statements. These statements show that despite tough times in the municipality, the management of our finances is business as usual.
Major concerns remain that the city is now owed R19 billion in debt, water and electricity losses continued unabated and R110 million has been incurred in the last period in unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
The DA has repeatedly made it clear that we must take a hard line on debt owed to us. If even a quarter of the R19 billion owed was collected from big businesses, parastatals and government departments, eThekwini would not need to repeatedly borrow money to fund capital expenditure. Various DA municipalities have shown that where electricity is cut for those who are able to pay, they pay up quickly. Government departments owe eThekwini millions, but continue to get away with it.
Water and electricity losses continue to empty the city’s funds. There is absolutely no change in this situation, despite repeated promises. EThekwini buys water and loses it before it can be sold, despite a serious shortage of water. No business or entity can afford to lose 54% of the product it sells.
It is deeply concerning that despite serious financial pressures, there is no political will to do things differently in eThekwini. Ratepayers and residents continue to be the financial scapegoats while the real culprits get off scot-free.
The DA will continue to push for good financial management in eThekwini. Recovering the debt, ensuring we are not losing our water and electricity and cutting irregular and wasteful expenditure is key to this municipality’s survival.