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Service delivery in Nelson Mandela Bay keeps deteriorating, while more money is budgeted for overtime payments

While garbage is piling up in residential areas and service delivery in general is deteriorating, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Council (NMBM) has increased the amount budgeted for overtime payments to officials from R186 million to R205 million in its adjustment budget. A whopping R25 million was spent on overtime in January this year alone.

It is unacceptable in light of the fact that officials had taken 39 896 days’ (equal to 109 years’) worth of sick leave just in the last six months of 2021.

The Metro's Infrastructure and Engineering division's officials seem to be the most sickly of all the departments with 8 963 days of sick leave that were granted; close on their heels is the division of Safety and Security (7 840 days) followed by Public Health (6 574 days).

Many of these officials take sick leave and then work overtime to supplement their salaries.

No wonder the NMBM is a dysfunctional Metro with infrastructure and property being vandalised and garbage piling up in residential areas.

The FF Plus will ask the acting city manager, Noxolo Nqwazi, and her departmental heads to come up with a constructive plan to curb and control the apparent misuse of sick leave.

The Metro also changed its credit collection rate from the projected 85% in the 2020/21 budget to 79% in its recent adjustment budget.

The Metro Council blames the Covid-19 pandemic for this; but that is not the only reason. The culture of non-payment for municipal services must be addressed and the collection of municipal accounts must be intensified.

Revenue from power sales was adjusted downward to R148,77 million and according to the Metro, this adjustment is in line with its current consumer patterns. The Metro's electricity service is, however, operating at a loss and this threatens the financial sustainability of ensuring a reliable power supply.

A great contributing factor to the downward adjustment of the projected revenue from power sales is electricity theft, and the Metro's unwillingness to take action to address the problem.

The Metro must take a strong stand against this by prioritising the disconnection of illegal power connections and taking decisive action against offenders.

The FF Plus cannot support the adjustment budget as long as the ANC-led Metro does not put taxpayers' needs first.

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