AfriForum has asked the Public Protector (PP) to urgently investigate a tender for prepaid metres that are currently causing millions of rand in losses for the eDumbe Local Municipality. This follows after various residents regularly experienced problems when buying prepaid electricity and then noticed that the new metres’ electricity was much more expensive than that of the old metres.
AfriForum learned confidentially that the correct processes according to Section 33 of the Municipal Financial Management Act, 2003 (Act No. 56 of 2003) was not followed and that no consultation took place with the public. Furthermore, it also came to AfriForum’s attention that Hexing, the metering company, is pocketing 30% of the electricity income – which exceeds the municipal profit margin on electricity distribution by far.
Various businesses have suffered damage due to electricity being unavailable regularly. The Hexing metres would again have been replaced with Conlog metres, but the Municipality did not pitch and expects consumers to pay for new metres again, even if the Conlog metres were paid for previously. “This action of the Municipality is in our opinion not only unfair, but also illegal and will not be tolerated,” says Rudoelf Kruse, committee member of AfriForum’s Paulpietersburg branch.
“We see daily how municipalities are managed as if it is a one-man business and that self-enrichment is more important than service delivery. AfriForum asked the PP to investigate the tender process and the civil rights watchdog is busy obtaining legal council to ultimately submit a criminal charge against the involved parties,” says Eugene van Aswegen, AfriForum’s Provincial Coordinator for KwaZulu-Natal.
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