'Councils are on brink of collapse'

MPUMALANGA MEC for corporate governance and traditional affairs Norman Mokoena says most municipalities in the province are on the brink of collapse because they are not financially viable.

He said this was evident from consumer debt amounting to R53billion for local authorities over the country, out of which R1,6billion was for those in the province.

Mokoena, pictured, blamed the unrest that hit the province in the past four months on gross underinvestment in bulk infrastructure and asset maintenance in key service delivery areas.

"The areas include water, sanitation, electricity and road infrastructure," he said in Nelspruit on Thursday.

"And we must also acknowledge that the infrastructure in municipalities is quite old, which is a major cause of service delivery interruptions.

"This will require that we move with speed in correcting the situation."

Mokoena was tabling the report of a ministerial task team that investigated the root causes of service delivery protests in Mpumalanga.

Mokoena said the findings, which were still in draft form, showed there was a lack of responsiveness to issues raised by communities, while ward committees were not fully functional and this resulted in poor communication with the communities.

The affected municipalities include Thaba Chweu, Mkhondo, Emalahleni, Dipaleseng, and Steve Tshwete.

Some municipalities, including Mkhondo, had been put under administration.