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The people of the Free State deserve better than unfunded budgets, debt and underspending in municipalities

Only the budgets of the Moqhaka and Metsimaholo Local Municipalities are funded. The budgets of the four District Municipalities (Fezile Dabi, Thabo Mafuntsanyane, Lejweleputswa and Xhariep) do not depend on service fees.

In its report on the state of the province's finances, the Free State Treasury admits that the rest of the municipalities find themselves in a financial predicament.

Municipalities' budgets are not realistic, seeing as the projected collection of revenue needed to balance the budget simply does not happen.

The municipalities with the biggest accounts receivable are Mangaung (R6,99 billion), Matjhabeng (R5,41 billion), Metsimaholo (R2,48 billion) and Maluti-A-Phofung (R2,17 billion).

That is outstanding debt that must be collected to ensure that these municipalities' budgets are realistic and viable.

At the end of June 2022, Free State municipalities owed their creditors a joint total of R21,94 billion. As a result of cash-flow problems, payment agreements with Eskom and water boards are not honoured.

Meanwhile, municipalities collectively underspent more than 60% of the allocations received in the previous financial year.

It is inexcusable that just 39,5% of the allocations for improving infrastructure was spent.

The FF Plus will hold the ANC-led municipalities accountable in the province's Public Accounts Committee for their failures that are affecting service delivery.

Budgets that do not balance year after year, annual underspending where services and infrastructure are urgently needed, and outstanding debt mounting up due to ANC-led municipalities' non-payment hamper service delivery.

The people of the Free State deserve better than the ANC.

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