Harrismith – The financially troubled Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality in the Free State has once again been left red-faced after some of its assets were attached.
On Thursday morning, a sheriff from Harrismith went to the municipality’s offices in the town and attached municipal vehicles and other items, according to sources within the municipality.
The attachment is meant to recover money owed by the municipality to several service providers who have gone unpaid for months, some even years.
Their pleas to be paid fell on deaf ears.
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 sheriff came to our offices this morning and attached these vehicles as you can see in these pictures I have just shared with you,” a source within the municipality told IOL on Thursday.
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.
The current mayor is Gilbert Mokotso from MAP16.
Despite repeated attempts from Thursday to get Mokotso to comment on the matter, he did not.
He did not respond to repeated calls and messages from IOL.
Meanwhile, the South African Local Government Association (Salga) says it does not support the proposed Active Partnering Agreement between Eskom and Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality that purports to assist the municipality with operational challenges to secure a revenue stream that will enable payment of the bulk electricity account.
The association said this is intended to take over the electricity distribution function, including all revenue collection related to the function, out of the hands of the municipality.
“Salga believes that the Distribution Agency Agreement is only fuelled by one party’s needs and is not sustainable for all parties entering the agreement, and neglects the fundamentals that electricity is an important funding source for local government.
“The Constitution of the Republic lists electricity reticulation as a local government responsibility and … places the responsibility on municipalities to ensure the provision of electricity reticulation to communities in a sustainable manner as well as promotes economic and social development,“ it said in a statement on Friday.
The municipality is one of the many in the country which owe Eskom a collective R52 billion, according to the utility.