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Ventersdorp community livid over 95/5 debt recovery

In aiming to recover the debt in Ventersdorp, the J.B. Marks Municipality has decided to enforce the 95/5 cost recovery principle that has already been in operation in Potchefstroom for years.

In aiming to recover the debt in Ventersdorp, the J.B. Marks Municipality has decided to enforce the 95/5 cost recovery principle that has already been in operation in Potchefstroom for years.

 

The 95/5 principle means that when one buys R100 of electricity, the consumer gets the R5 worth of electricity and the rest goes towards settling the arrears account.

The decision did not sit well with the Ventersdorp residents and villages. They are opposing the move by marching today (Thursday) and submitting their memorandum to the office of the premier.

According to Sello Dassie, a community leader, ‘the community’s point of view is that the issue of 95/5 was not part of a council resolution. We only know the 60/40 as adopted by the council of Ventersdorp Local Municipality. The 95/5 has been forcibly implemented in Ventersdorp without consulting the community,’ he said.

‘It is clear that everything the J.B. Marks Municipality does is without the green light or the involvement of the community. This is against the South African Constitution.

‘The municipalities are obliged to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government. The people’s needs must be responded to and the public must be encouraged to participate in policy-making,’ he said.

‘To strengthen our argument, the last time we had public participation in our municipality was during the process of the name change and that process was not well conducted either. There were also no public participation sessions for the budget or the IDP.

‘Both policies (95/5 and 60/40) do exist but there is no council resolution that rescinds one of them and that results in maladministration.

‘We, as the community of Ventersdorp, plan to take this matter to the Office of the Public Protector for further investigation,’ he said.

Dassie says examples of maladministration within J.B. Marks Municipality include the appointment of employees without advertising the posts, the awarding of tenders without proper SCM processes, ghost employees and political interference by councillors in the administration.

When asked about the protest march at Tuesday’s media briefing, the executive mayor, Kgotso Khumalo said he is not aware of any march and has not received any communication to that effect.

Public meetings on the introduction of the new 95/5 system were held, says council spokesperson

Willie Maphosa, the J.B. Marks spokesperson says the municipality held a number of public meetings on the introduction of the new 95/5 system as early as February this year.

‘On two occasions, these meetings were disrupted by a rowdy group of people who did not want to give the mayor or the councillors a chance to speak. However, in most areas, the meetings went on successfully without any incidents.

‘Even before and after the series of meetings, pamphlets were distributed and posters were displayed, mostly at the rate offices, to announce these intentions,’ said Maphosa.

He says the residents of Ventersdorp are aware of the dismal collection rate in their area. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. The alternative is to sit by and look on as service provision is completely run down.

‘We have always called upon those who are unable to pay for services to come forward and be registered in the indigent register so they can receive assistance,’ he said.

https://www.citizen.co.za/potchefstroom-herald/47726/ventersdorp-residents-want-big-guns-kill-merger/

https://www.citizen.co.za/potchefstroom-herald/31810/ventersdorp-reaches-boiling-point/

 

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