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Financially drowning Free State municipality says salary payments will be delayed after its vehicles were attached

Financially drowning Free State municipality says salary payments will be delayed after its vehicles were attached

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Harrismith – The Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality in Harrismith in the Free State, which has been drowning in financial distress and political instability for the past few years, has won a legal bid to get its attached vehicles back.

A week ago, the municipality was left red-faced after some of its assets were attached by a sheriff from the Phuthaditjaba magisterial district.

The attachment was meant to recover money owed by the municipality to several service providers who have gone unpaid for months – some even years.

Financially drowning Free State municipality says salary payments will be delayed after its vehicles were attached
Picture: Supplied

Their pleas to be paid fell on deaf ears, and then some of the service providers opted to go the legal route and obtained orders to attach municipal assets to be sold in a public auction.

The municipality is led by the MAP16 Civic Movement (MAP16), a party started by 16 former ANC councillors after they were expelled for refusing to implement mandates from the governing party.

UPDATE: The financially dry Maluti-A-Phofung local municipality in the Free State has obtained a court order to have its vehicles which were attached by a sheriff last week returned. The vehicles were attached to be sold and pay off debts owed to several service providers. @IOL pic.twitter.com/HqegPnZL1l

— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) November 24, 2022

In an order granted by the Bloemfontein High Court on Wednesday, it was ruled the municipality should get its cars back with immediate effect.

“The first respondent (the sheriff) to return the tools of trade (motor vehicles) belonging to the applicant as set out in the inventory to the notice of attachment execution marked annexure ‘SM1’ to the founding affidavit of the applicant immediately after granting of this order,” the court ruled and said the sheriff must pay the legal cost for the case lodged on urgent basis.“

In a statement after the court victory, the municipality’s mayor, Gilbert Mokotso said what happened was unfortunate as the sheriff should not have attached the vehicles in the first place.

He said without the vehicles, they were unable to collect revenue to be used to pay salaries, and this meant their staff members would be paid late.

“Our pleas to the Sheriff fell on deaf ears last week as our matter with that one service provider had been amicably resolved.

“In fact, this was a long-standing matter from many years ago, and we managed to sit down with the service provider and had an agreement.

“Taking these vehicles was illegal and has caused us a lot of inconvenience, as they are used for revenue collection in the whole of Maluti-A-Phofung.

“Our staff could not do anything for over a week. This has caused us a big backlog, which has affected our cash flow to an extent that our staff will receive their salaries in tranches up until 30 November 2022 as per their salary levels,” he added.

sihle.mavuso@inl.co.za

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