Dissatisfaction (and a scooter) after news of plans for expensive car for Govan Mbeki mayor

Fed-up residents and members of two AfriForum branches in the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality (GGPM) made their dissatisfaction with the planned purchase of an expensive car for the struggling municipality’s mayor clear today and delivered a memorandum and a brand new scooter at the municipal office. This follows after it came to light earlier this week that the municipality intends to purchase a luxury vehicle for its mayor, Nhlakanipho Zuma. AfriForum’s Bethal and Trichardt-Evander-Kinross-Secunda (also known as TEKS) branches argue that Zuma is more entitled to a bicycle than an expensive car.

Community members’ opposition comes as this municipality’s finances are in dire straits and service delivery threatens to buckle under the pressure of huge debts owed to Eskom and Rand Water, among others. The municipality’s mismanagement leads to the debt to service providers running extremely high, AfriForum’s Bethal and TEKS branches argue. The debt to Eskom is said to already amount to more than R3 billion and that to Rand Water is more than R700 million.

In the memorandum handed over today, AfriForum demands more responsible and transparent decision-making and management by the municipality.

According to Hennie Bekker, AfriForum District Coordinator for the Mpumalanga Highveld, the municipality’s high level of debt leads, among other things, to the implementation of load reduction by Eskom and a reduction in water pressure from Rand Water. Load reduction is meanwhile applied in addition to load shedding, while the lower water pressure deprives communities in this municipality of their access to water in some cases. AfriForum is meanwhile formulating a legal strategy to oppose the implementation of water pressure reductions.

“The municipality fails to provide basic services and then the residents have to pay the penalty for it, while officials are rewarded with shiny, new cars. This is unacceptable,” says Jan du Plessis, Chairperson of AfriForum’s TEKS branch.

“The current order in the GGPM is strongly reminiscent of a dictatorship, where the small group of elected elites live and ride in luxury, at the expense of the people they are supposed to serve. Residents are now fed up with this and refuse to accept this behavior in silence any longer,” concludes Bekker.

Bekker encourages the public to support AfriForum’s petition against the intended purchase of the new vehicle. Visit https://afriforum.co.za/en/govan-mbeki-municipality-does-not-pay-their-bills/ to sign the petition.

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