Almost all the ANC-led municipalities in Mpumalanga are running at operating deficit, and four of them are totally bankrupt.

In a recent presentation to the Portfolio Committee of CoGTA, it was noted that out of 17 local municipalities in the province, 11 were not financially viable. It was also noted that Mpumalanga local municipalities had a debt of more than R8.6 billion of which R5 billion (85%) was contributed by households as a result of failure to ensure revenue collection and improve the financial management.

The following municipalities are the ones identified as non-financially viable: the City of Mbombela, Thaba Chweu, Emakhazeni, eMalahleni, Dr JS Moroka, Govan Mbeki, Msukaligwa, Mkhondo, Dipaleseng, Lekwa, and Chief Albert Luthuli.

With the following four identified as totally bankrupt:

Under the ANC, Mpumalanga municipalities have been plagued by a billing and revenue collection crisis for several years, which has led to billions of rands worth of lost or written-off revenue.

It is about time the Mpumalanga communities consider a Democratic Alliance (DA) government to bring total change. A DA government would conduct a skills audit for all civil servants to ensure that only qualified and ethical people are in a position to handle municipal finances.

The DA is making a difference where it governs. For example – the DA made significant financial improvement after it took over the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) municipality in the Eastern Cape.

In NMB:
• The DA stopped wasteful and unnecessary projects;
• Is controlling money spent by city employees much more tightly and have instituted procedures that result in a more disciplined and conscientious bureaucracy; and
• They have also removed corrupt practices and cut financial deviations.

Since the DA-coalition government took over in Nelson Mandela Bay, 12 000 residents are receiving running water and toilets in their homes for the first time. Job creation is another big priority; since taking over from the ANC, the Metro has created 4 000 job opportunities; and together with a concerted effort to root out corruption and grow the economy, over 80% of newly constructed infrastructure will benefit low income communities.

Residents of Mpumalanga deserve a total change with a DA government who will put their priorities first.