MBOMBELA Municipality in Mpumalanga is cash strapped and it’s failing to pay salaries of senior managers, sources said. The municipality is also said to be struggling with keeping up with payments to Eskom.
According to sources within the municipality, the problems started in February when salaries were late. A source speaking on condition of anonymity said workers were supposed to be paid on the 22nd of each month but that has not been the case for some time.
The source further indicated that the municipality owes Eskom R50 million which it is struggling to pay.
“The municipality is in serious trouble. It can’t pay workers their salaries and service providers are also not receiving payments,” said the source.
The source added that May salaries were also late with workers now wondering if they would be able to meet their own financial obligations.
He said the municipality has prioritised the payments of general workers in a bid to keep a lid on the dire situation.
“The workers were supposed to have been paid last week Friday but that did not happen, up to now, it has not happened. They only paid the general workers and councilors because they make noise when they don’t get their way. People from post level 1-7 have not been paid. It has been a consistent trend,” added the source.
Another source said corruption was at the centre of the problems facing the municipality. The source claimed that monies have been siphoned from the municipality, leaving it bankrupt.
The only way for things to turn around is when National Treasury approves budgets for the new financial year.
“The reason is that monies have disappeared within the municipality. It is crisis-ridden until they get money in June when the financial year starts.
In essence, it is bankrupt and it is due to things that have been done wrongly,” said the source.
The municipality has refuted the claims. Spokesperson Joseph Ngala maintained that all workers including senior managers were paid on time and no employee is owed by the municipality.
“There is no senior manager that is owed a salary for February 2017. All employees, including senior managers, were paid during February 2017 on 22 and 23 of the month of February 2017. The salaries for March and April 2017 had been paid on time to all employees, including the senior managers. For May 2017, the payment of salaries to employees and councilors started on Friday, 19 May and last payment will be made on 23 May 2017,” he said.
Ngala added that the amount owed to Eskom was not R50 million and plans were afoot to settle the debt by end of May.
“With regard to the Eskom debt, we are owing R40 914 115.71 as at 30 April 2017 and this amount will be settled not later than 31 May 2017,” he added.
However, Ngala’s explanation was disputed by the sources within the municipality. They insisted that he was lying as no one from post level 1-7 had been paid as claimed.
They further indicated that the agreed payment date for salaries is the 22nd of every month.
“If the 22nd is on a Monday, the payment must be made the previous Friday. Meaning everyone was supposed to be paid on Friday the 19th. The reality is that the municipality is bankrupt they no longer even have overdraft from their banker ABSA. The monies they used to pay general workers on Friday is the municipal infrastructure structure
grant meant for projects. That means service providers won’t be paid too. That money was not enough to complete the salary bill hence till now no one in the post levels I’ve mentioned has been paid,” said the source.