A ‘revolution’ needed, to force government to fix service delivery » Cypher9ja

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The time has come for a South African revolution to effectively address issues of poor service delivery. This is the view of legal expert Advocate Francois Botes who was reacting to a group of business people in the south of Johannesburg who have decided to boycott paying for municipal services in Emfuleni. The businesspeople under the auspices of the Vereeniging Business Corporation (VBC) took a decision recently not to pay their rates and taxes from the end of this month, citing poor service delivery from Emfuleni. ALSO READ: ‘Service delivery is a joke’: Gatvol businesses to boycott paying rates in…

The time has come for a South African revolution to effectively address issues of poor service delivery.

This is the view of legal expert Advocate Francois Botes who was reacting to a group of business people in the south of Johannesburg who have decided to boycott paying for municipal services in Emfuleni.

The businesspeople under the auspices of the Vereeniging Business Corporation (VBC) took a decision recently not to pay their rates and taxes from the end of this month, citing poor service delivery from Emfuleni.

ALSO READ: ‘Service delivery is a joke’: Gatvol businesses to boycott paying rates in Emfuleni

Time to force municipalities into action

According to Botes, not enough pressure is placed on local municipalities to get their houses in order, especially during election time.

Botes says the time has also come for municipalities to wake up and give attention to their constitutional mandate.

“Municipalities must also remember that they are service providers and that members of the public who pay their municipal accounts are clients and it’s like any other business. When the service provider is not providing a quality service, then it cannot be expected for the client to pay.

“If municipalities don’t pull up their socks, they can expect a public revolution,” Botes warned.

Not paying taxes illegal

Commenting further on the actions by the VBC, Botes said while the law is clear that the payment of rates and taxes is non-negotiable, it is also equally important to note that the public is not getting value for what they are paying the municipality.

“It is not a situation where rates and taxes are not being paid, but rather a boycott by disgruntled and frustrated residents.

“What businesspeople of Emfuleni are saying is that until such time you get your house in order by delivering quality services as per your mandate, we will not boycott paying… Yes the municipality can take legal action, but it will take time because the moment the public decides to close the financial taps, then it would have a detrimental effect on the municipality,” Botes said.

Emfuleni going from bad to worse

The embattled municipality continues to be in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Earlier this month, Eskom announced it obtained a judgment for R1.3 billion against the municipality, for its continued failure to settle its current account and accumulated arrears.

ALSO READ: Eskom explains why Emfuleni left them no choice but to attach municipality’s assets

The business community also said it has lost income of up to 55%, with some business deciding to relocate to either the neighbouring Midvaal local municipality or to other provinces.

Speaking to The Citizen on Wednesday, chairperson of the Golden Triangle Chamber of Commerce (GTCOC) Klippies Kritzinger stressed that the situation in Emfuleni has reached crisis point.

“We don’t get any service delivery and both Eskom and Rand Water attached the municipality’s accounts. In fact, Rand Water released the account so that they can pay salaries this month.

“Business and ratepayers are having a passive boycott as a result; hence we have delayed our monthly payments to the municipality, and we are not going to pay them because we have been battling with Emfuleni for many years,” said Kritzinger.

Trying to force council into administration

He accused the municipality of arrogance, saying Emfuleni has ignored all the advice and suggestions businesses have provided over the years.

“It is this don’t care attitude of Emfuleni that is forcing us to bring them down, and we want to make sure they fall so that everybody can be removed, so that national government can take over the municipality.

“Currently the municipality only has one vehicle for the whole Vanderbijlpark town and some vehicles don’t even have fuel. We are really desperate for a change in this dire situation that we find ourselves in.

“We were supposed to meet with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi this week, but that meeting has now been postponed and we were also supposed to have a meeting with the Emfuleni Mayoral Committee last week, and that too did not sit. They just don’t take us serious but we will fight till the end,” Kritzinger added.

Businesses warned to pay up

Reacting to this, spokesperson for the municipality Makhosonke Sangweni said Eskom is yet to attach their assets.

Regarding the debt situation with Rand Water, Sangweni said they are having an agreement with Rand Water on how to move forward and settle the matter out of court.

In 2018, Rand Water threatened to reduce Emfuleni’s water supply by 20%.

ALSO READ: Rand Water threatens to cut Emfuleni supply to 20%

Meanwhile Sangweni warned businesses boycotting paying for municipal services, adding that the municipality will take adequate actions against those business including customers in the event that they do not pay.



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