While Mantsopa Municipality is owing Eskom R98 million, it lavished R1.2 million on flowers.
The municipality is one of the Free State municipalities facing black-out threat due to unpaid electricity bills.
Now, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Mantsopa municipality is agitating against the R1.2m the municipality spent on flowers in the 2015/2016 financial year.
Reports have it that they have written to the council and its financial committee about it expressing that it’s uncool and an extensive display of financial irresponsibility.
Tania Halse, a DA Councillor in the Mantsopa municipality lamented that it’s super stupid for the municipality to lavish R1.2 million on flowers while it can’t pay Eskom.
She also identified that the roads and water infrastructure in the municipality are bad because there is no money to fix them.
With that, she charged that the accounts committee must explain what the flowers were for. “They must prove that the right procedure was followed since more than R100 000 was spent,” stated Halse.
Responding, the municipal manager Selby Selepe argued that the municipality didn’t spend R1.2 million on flowers. Selepe contended that the DA Councillor must provide an invoice to prove her claim.
Reporting this, New24 related that Halse provided an annual report in which the expense is clearly stated, as proof that R1.2m was spent on flowers.
Meanwhile, Eskom will no longer carry out its bulk power supply interruptions scheduled to take place today in Ubuntu and Renosterberg municipalities of the Northern Cape.
As learnt, the decision follows Renosterberg municipality presentation of an acceptable payment plan for the settlement of their arrears debt. Likewise, the Ubuntu municipality made a payment proposal which is being evaluated by Eskom.
Eskom said the interruption of supply due to non-payment by municipalities is an agonizing decision and, a means of last resort.
“…We take solace in the fact that we spared no effort to collect outstanding debts amicably.
“In spite of the fact that both the provisions of the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006 and supply agreements empower Eskom to disconnect electricity completely, Eskom has opted for a softer approach of interrupting electricity during certain hours in the day,” stated the power utility.
Eskom added that it will monitor the strict adherence to the payment plans warning that any defaults will result in the interruption of supply without further notice.
Also, the power utility outlet encouraged municipal customers to engage with their supply authorities to get updated information on their municipalities’ arrears situation.