House Chair, hon Minister, we are fully aware of the financial deterioration in municipalities, with uncollected revenues growing by 17% to R147 billion, and overdue accounts owed by municipalities have grown by 52% to R36 billion, half of that owed to Eskom, which is a later question. In view of the above and the poor financial performance by municipalities, can it be justified to consider increasing the equitable share formula?
I have already said in Parliament that we need to consider that, but surely one must get the municipalities' houses in order before one can give them
additional funds. If you agree with that, how do we do that, to get the houses in order? I support additional funding, but we first have to get the municipalities' financial houses in order. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL
AFFAIRS: Chairperson, some of the municipalities are not even able to spend their MIG, because firstly, they cannot attract professionals to their space, as their revenue is small.
Even when they come, some of the engineers go there just to get a bit of experience. Once they get it, they are gone. Financial expertise does not stay there. Planning expertise does not stay there. So, some of the municipalities don't have the professionals that they need to actually get their house in order.
It is for that reason that I said earlier that we need to work in such a way that we at least ensure expertise in every district, so that they can at least be shared in that space, even if they cannot be in every municipality.
So, I agree, but we cannot just say that they must get their house in order, if they don't have the professionals they need. So, we need to improve their capacity. Once we have improved their capacity, they will be able to spend what they need to spend.
Also, in terms of revenue, we must remember ... Let me give you an example. When there is no water in a locality and there is a drought, the municipality has to deliver water to the areas with water tankers. That water is not metered and it is not paid for, but the municipality has paid for it to the water board.
So, these are all the things. When all these formulas and everything were put in place, we did not consider who pays for that water when a municipality delivers water with tankers in a rural space.
So, we can blame the municipalities. I am not excusing them. I am saying there are problems. Some of them are corrupt, but there are also genuine problems that we have not addressed properly.
Even if that municipality pays for the water that is metered, they will still owe for the water that was delivered with tankers to the rural community. So, there are a lot of examples like that. Thank you. [Time expired.]