Nhlanhla Nene: Picture: REUTERS/JOSHUA ROBERTS
Nhlanhla Nene: Picture: REUTERS/JOSHUA ROBERTS

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene wants the provincial government to take over the running of 15 Eastern Cape municipalities who are in distress.

These include Makana in Grahamstown; Ngqushwa in Peddie; Enoch Mgijima in Queenstown; Emalahleni in Dordrecht; Intsika Yethu in Cala; Great Kei; Dr Beyer Naude in Graaff-Reinet; Sakhisizwe in Khowa (Elliot); and Walter Sisulu municipality in Aliwal North.

Nene said that when matching the "cash and cash equivalents" for this period against the "total creditors" for the same period‚ "it showed that municipalities with unfunded budgets are not able to pay their total creditors within the prescribed 30-day period".

These details are contained in Nene’s written response to parliamentary questions from the DA’s co-operative governance and traditional affairs shadow minister, Kevin Mileham.

Grahamstown’s infrastructure and financial woes have been a worrying factor for years‚ and were in the spotlight this week when Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize visited the university town — also home to the National Arts Festival — to see for himself the state of the Makana municipal area.

City leaders told him how the collapse in service delivery‚ the potholed roads and the frequent electricity and water outages in the city were destroying investor confidence‚ business opportunities and employment.

Mkhize said he had appointed a large team consisting of top management and technical leadership in his department to assist in a turnaround in the dysfunctional and broke municipality.

But he warned that there was no magical pot of money to bail out the municipality, which‚ he said‚ needed to get the basics right first.