Pretoria – The finances of the City of Tshwane may have been battered by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the metro was much better when compared with other municipalities in the same boat.
This was revealed by local government MEC Lebogang Maile during a media briefing in Joburg, where he outlined challenges confronting municipalities amid the pandemic.
Maile also used the opportunity to present plans by the government to assist struggling municipalities.
He said Tshwane was up to date in terms of servicing its accounts with its creditors, such as Eskom and Rand Water.
He expressed confidence that the administrators would leave the City’s coffers in good standing, irrespective of the much-anticipated ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal on the appointment of administrators.
“We will leave that municipality with a surplus of between R1.3billion and R1.5bn,” Maile said.
He said the metro was still able to meet its financial demands, despite the impact of Covid-19 on its public purse.
Many residents recently complained that the City had overcharged them on their municipal accounts.
Maile said: “The issue of incorrect billing is not just a Tshwane problem and it is not a new problem.
“It is a problem that has been there for many years, which affects all municipalities.”
Regarding the DA’s accusations that the City spent at least R10million on the salaries of administrators, he said: “The estimate of their salaries so far is R7.5million and not R10 m.”
The R10m figure bandied about, he said, showed mischief on the part of the DA.
Since the appointments of the administrators in March, the City made inroads in terms of maintaining institutional stability.
As of August, the City’s rate for filling vacancies for senior managers stood at 10%.
Other metros, such as the City of Joburg, were sitting on a 42% vacancy rate for senior posts, while Ekurhuleni stood at 0%.
Maile said the failure to fill senior posts was one of the factors that contributed greatly to instability in municipalities, as it led to excessive use of consulting services.
He said the pandemic had exacerbated the revenue generation problems in municipalities.
Collectively, municipalities experienced under-collected revenues of roughly R2.6billion in April, R2.4bn in May, R2.2bn in June, and around R2bn in July.
“So that means that in that four-month period we saw municipalities lose more than R8.6bn in revenue collection, at a period when service delivery demands are increasing and urgent, owing to Covid-19,” Maile said.
The department was working in tandem with municipalities to develop and implement financial strategies that would enable revenue optimization and financial sustainability.
Maile said the department had had meetings with both Eskom and Rand Water, along with the Department of Water and Sanitation, to address some of its electricity and water challenges.