Letter: DA statement on NMBM not factual

Over the weekend, Mmusi Maimane released a statement on the state of three metros the DA won control of in August.

The following are his first allegations about Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality:

  • “Danny Jordan and his predecessor . . . diverted public money for private gain.”

He does not address one line of evidence for this disgraceful allegation, which can thus only be described as disgusting.

  • “The ANC falsely presented a large cash balance as a solvent position.”

The ANC never presents the metro’s cash balances, rather the metro’s Treasury does in reports to every Budget and Treasury Committee (BTC) meeting.

These reports reflect month-end cash balances. As at April 30, this stood at R1.969-million – just down from the daily printouts which the then ANC- led MMC for Budget and Treasury, Councillor Rory Riordan, had circulated to Budget and Treasury, and which, a while earlier, broke R2-billion a few times (see report, BTC Agenda, June 17).

There was neither a “false presentation”, nor an insolvent position misrepresented; nor was it done by “the ANC”.

  • “[The ANC”] had devastatingly cut all city maintenance to instead put money in the bank.”

“Cutting all maintenance” was in fact a repairs and maintenance budget of R524-million (operating account) and a replacement and renewal budget (capital) of R752-million (see same agenda of BTC dated June 17).

These two totals greatly exceeded the amount by which we depreciated assets, ie. we were spending more on maintaining than we were depreciating.

  • “Under the ANC the municipality only had 1.8 months of cash reserves, which is half of the legal requirement.”

There is no legal requirement for cash reserves, and our cash holding increased over the 2015/16 year by R160-million, of which about R70-million can be accounted for in an increase in unspent capital grants.

We are, after Ekurhuleni and Cape Town, now the third strongest municipality in South Africa. Whether the DA can maintain this is another question.

  • The DA has put in “strict debt control measures to begin recovering some of the R2-billion owed to the municipality. As of June 30, debtors were approximately R1.6-billion after impairment, and about R3.6-billion before”.

Where Mmusi gets his figures from is a mystery. The “strict debt control measures” have always been in place.

The DA nevertheless decided to cut off 3 600 prepaid electricity clients last week, because they were in arrears on other accounts. As this happened, council’s phones collapsed, and none of these customers could get explanations. Instead of reconnecting until they could provide explanations, the DA froze, leaving many good people without electricity for the weekend.

The majority of people cut off are poor people living in the townships and northern areas.

Who in Nelson Mandela Bay is feeding their leader with this rubbish? Trollip and his team must focus on dealing with service delivery matters. The DA, Maimane and Trollip must stop uttering nefarious and frivolous allegations. Stick to the truth, please.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the DA’s “dream team” in Nelson Mandela Bay is out of its depth. Get on with your job.

Leave a Reply