MUNICIPALITY IN A MESS

WORKERS at the cash strapped Msunduzi municipality are worried that they might not get their salaries at the end of the month despite the intervention of the KwaZulu-Natal government.

WORKERS at the cash strapped Msunduzi municipality are worried that they might not get their salaries at the end of the month despite the intervention of the KwaZulu-Natal government.

Yesterday,three officials deployed by MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Nomsa Dube assumed duty.

The trio was seconded to the municipality by the department as part of a turnaround strategy.

Last week mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo said the municipality was indebted to the tune of R564million.

She told executive committee members that they would have to tighten their belts since they would only be given tea without the usual sandwiches.

She said lunch could also not be offered and no money would be spent without the committee's knowledge.

The council adopted a three point priority plan to deal with its financial woes: paying staff salaries, paying debts and servicing long-term loans.

The provincial department of finance is also trying to ensure that all government departments pay for the services rendered to them by the council.

A senior council official, who asked not to be named, said that the three officials seconded to their office had not been introduced to them.

"I'm aware that they are around and I'm hoping to meet them soon so we can all put an effort into improving the situation of the council," he said.

"Our finances are in a bad shape and we hope officials will not be threatened by politicians into giving contracts to companies owned by their pals," the official said.

"We would not be in such a mess if that had not happen at the first place. It's possible some of the workers will not receive salaries at the end of the month."

Dube had indicated that the financial situation of the municipality had deteriorated and the council had no money to run its operations for one week.

Provincial spokesperson for department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Mthatheni Mabaso confirmed yesterday that a team of experts had reported to the municipality offices in the morning.

He said the team, which comprises highly skilled chartered accountants, is led by Naren Mahesh and Graham Gard.

"The team will work with municipal officials to deal with financial problems affecting the council. And they are expected to report back to the MEC after three months," Mabaso said.

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