Gauteng premier has raised concern over statements made by the newly elected mayor of Johannesburg; Herman Mashaba who he said is not yet familiar with the way the government operates.
Mashaba, on Monday, announced that Gauteng owes the City of Johannesburg R259 million in outstanding rates. He also ordered the local government to ensure it
He also ordered the local government to ensure it pays back the money in thirty days.
He further warned that failure to do so will result in the city cutting services to defaulting departments.
In reply to Mashaba’s warning, Gauteng’s provincial government says it is committed to paying the rates and services it owes to the City of Johannesburg but warned Mayor Mashaba to watch the tone with which he speaks to them.
The Gauteng premier, David Makhura said there were a number of areas the province works with municipalities through joint committees such as health, housing, and budgets just to mention a few which the new mayor is yet to familiarize with.
“The premier has also expressed concern about the tone of Cllr Mashaba’s statement and its implications for the Constitutional imperative of cooperative governance.”
“The fact that there are new mayors who have not taken the time to familiarize themselves with our work does not mean issues raised have not been dealt with,” Makhura noted.
Latest quarterly report on Municipal Financial Performance published in the government gazette last month shows that the provincial government said ‚ the City of Johannesburg was owed R16bn by government‚ residents and business.
Stated there, Government and parastatals owed R588 million‚ commercial customers owed R6bn and residential customers owed R8.7bn
“As at June 2016‚ the Gauteng provincial government owed R242.503m‚ which is 1.5% of the R16.1 billion in rates and services.”
“We are committed to pay undisputed invoices. Our commitment is demonstrated in the amounts that the Gauteng Government has paid to various municipalities between April and July which amounts to R384 million to settle municipal debts for all its departments,” the department said.
Speaking further on this, Gauteng premier’s spokesperson‚ Phumla Sekhonyane‚ said while the Gauteng provincial government had consistently made provision for payment of municipal rates‚ it was discovered that the allocated budget was not sufficient to cover historical debt which had accumulated due to disputed bills.
She said in the tabling of the 2015/2016 Provincial Adjustment Appropriation‚ the Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy made additional allocations for municipal services accounts totaling R334m. This amounted to a total payment of R679m by the end of the financial year.