By Linda Pona
The Auditor General’s report stated what we as the residents of Makhanda and the Makana Municipality already know: we are in trouble. We already know that the municipality has no systems to deal with service delivery. We see it on our roads every day, with the intermittent water supply, with the filthy state the town is in.
Exactly a year ago, the Daily Maverick reported that the Premier of the Eastern Cape government, Oscar Mabuyane would have to report to the judge every three months on implementing a financial recovery plan for the municipality, after the community sought to dissolve the local council for its ongoing failure to deliver on services.
Yet exactly one year later, the AG then reported that the municipality received its fourth negative audit, with some findings of the report revealing that there were irregular practices that go against the Municipal Financial Management Act, a document which very clearly outlines how municipalities should legally conduct themselves and what to do in the event of misconduct, financial mismanagement and everything else we saw laid bare in that report.
In the 2018-2019 financial year Audit Report, there was a reported R32 Billion in irregular expenditure across municipalities. These irregular expenditures include payments for goods that were not received; assests not safeguarded and thus either stolen or vandalized; and unfair procurement which resulted in overpricing.
At some point, we have to accept that the Makana Municipality is not willing to to adhere to promises it made to its residents.
We aren’t just dealing with service delivery failures, but rampant Constitutional violations.
When the residents of a water scarce town have to wait until atleast December 2023 for a six year long awaited upgrade of its water treatment centre, as if they haven’t already waited years, dealing with intermittent water supply, you can’t help but think that there is no political will to better the lives of the people in that town.
There’s an old quote that says “Just because you do not take interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you”.
I too used to be those that used to believe that politics wasn’t for me, until I realized that there was no way to escape the politics of the day, because they some way or another will affect me.
But we are all in some way or another feeling the pinch from the municipality’s failures or rather, unwillingness to fix some of the issues we are faced with.
Here in Makhanda, we write articles week in and week out on the service delivery failures of the municipality, with the people on the ground bearing the brunt of that lived reality.
But we have all somehow become helpless to this reality, despite the protests, despite the ministerial visits and bad reports rendered to the National Council of Provinces.
One can only wonder when it will all end or when the people’s resolve will be and how much of taxpayer’s monies would have been recklessly spent by then with again no financial accountability or with these losses being recovered.