The DA-run City of Joburg has accused the ANC in the metro of crying wolf over the state of the city’s finances.
Yesterday the ANC Greater Johannesburg region released a scathing statement, accusing the DA administration of unfairly targeting residents in a bid to “balance its penniless books”.
It claimed to have seen invoices of service providers, mostly small enterprises, amounting to R2 billion owed to them in December 2017.
But Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s office told The Citizen yesterday it was aware of 2 000 accounts that were in historical arrears to the City amounting to almost R1 billion.
It added that this was not an indication of a financial crisis. Mashaba spokesperson Luyanda Mfeka said the ANC’s repeated claims that the city was in dire financial straits was unsubstantiated and amounted to politicking.
“It’s been estimated that there are 2 000 accounts supposedly in arrears that owe the city almost R1 billion and that is not an indication that we are in dire straits.
“Many of these accounts are payers that historically haven’t paid the city and have not been paying even during the ANC’s time,” he said.
“The ANC’s claim is unsubstantiated. We are not in financial dire straits and the city has every right to go after people who are illegally connected to the city’s services.
“This week the mayor, together with the finance MMC, went to businesses that were illegally connected to City Power’s grid and owed the city money. That is not an indication that the city is on the brink of collapse as the ANC always tries to claim.”
Similar claims made by the city’s official opposition last year led to a motion of no confidence tabled by the ANC against Mashaba in Johannesburg’s last council meeting last year.
Yesterday, the ANC also accused Mashaba of political meddling, decrying the mass exodus of suspended and fired managers in the administration as a contributing factor to the city’s financial woes.
“This poaching campaign has significantly wiped out institutional memory of the city and destabilised service delivery after competent executives were replaced with unqualified and incompetent people who are either personally connected to Mayor Mashaba and his members of the mayoral committee, or the smaller coalition parties, to appease their union,” it said.
Furthermore, the ANC said, while the city had no money to pay salaries and service providers in December, an amount of R1.3 billion from the redemption fund was withdrawn by the city to pay salaries.