Free State town owing R92m in electricity arrears buys luxury car for mayor

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Free State town owing R92m in electricity arrears buys luxury car for mayor

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\n TMG Digital | 2017-01-22 12:20:23.0\n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\n \n \n

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\n \n \n \n Pylons are part of a network taking electricity across South Africa – as long as municipalities pay their bills. Eskom’s ability to supply electricity will be rendered obsolete if nonpayment escalates, argues the utility’s chairman, Ben Ngubane.\n \n \n \n
Image by: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART\n \n \n \n

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\n The ANC-run municipality of Mantsopa in the Free State which recently managed to stave off planned power cuts by Eskom owing to non-payment has apparently purchased a R500‚000 luxury Mercedes Benz C-class for its mayor‚ Mamsie Tsoene.\n

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This was revealed on Sunday by Democratic Alliance councillor Tania Halse.

Mantsopa‚ which has a population of around 54‚000‚ was one of five defaulting municipalities that received a reprieve from Eskom recently after they submitted payments and agreed on payment plans with the electricity parastatal.

“At a time when Eskom is threatening to cut electricity supply to Mantsopa due to non-payment of R92 million‚ the Mayor should be focused on saving every possible cent to spend on service delivery. A new Mercedes Benz is simply unacceptable.

“The DA appeals to Mayor Tsoene to do the right thing and cancel the purchase of the vehicle. It is time to put the people first‚ and not the ANC’s own personal interests‚” Halse said.

She said service delivery was at crisis levels in Mantsopa‚ with the municipality struggling to provide residents with clean and safe water. In addition‚ graders‚ refuse removal trucks and other vehicles were either broken down‚ or so old that they needed to be replaced.

Halse added that pot-holes were not filled‚ and roads in many communities were in a precarious state. Many streets also did not have lamps‚ and sign boards were illegible‚ while sewage was flowing in the streets.

“People are forced to live with garbage due to inconsistent collection of refuse‚” she said‚ adding that R3.7m had been lost in wasteful expenditure and that irregular expenditure for the period 1 July 2015 – 31 December 2015 had amounted to nearly R847‚000.

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