The Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) adopted its first adjusted budget during an ordinary council meeting last week, following a financial boost of R36.7m in equitable share, a huge portion of which was used to pay the accumulated Eskom debt.
EMLM mayor Luleka Gubula indicated that R23m was paid to Eskom and the remaining R13.7m was allocated to several municipal departments, including R180 000 to the special programmes unit and R100 000 to the communications department.
“Of the remaining R13.7m a big chunk went to technical services as it directly deals with service delivery matters, another huge amount went to the community services department. We know we have been inundated with power outages due to our dilapidated electricity infrastructure, so we augmented the technical services budget.
“Electricity works are being done in Ezibeleni, including changing of unserviceable electricity poles, which was an urgent matter as they posed a danger to residents. This will continue in other areas as well,” said the mayor.
Gubula indicated that when the budget for the 2020/2021 financial year was adopted in May, a number of projects to be implemented were approved by council; among them the integrated national electrification programme (Inep) fund of which R8.5m was approved by the department of energy for the refurbishment of two sub-stations in EMLM.
“One is the Mlungisi sub-station which required R5m and another in Sterkstroom that would need R3.5m to be repaired. However, we received a communiqué from the energy department informing us we would not get the initially approved amount, as funds were deducted and redirected to address issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The mayor said the municipality would now receive R3.5 m from Inep which would be used for the replenishment of the Sterkstroom power source.
“We decided to use the whole amount for the Sterkstroom sub-station because it was what was required to fully fix it. We would be doing an injustice to our service delivery strides if we split the money for the two power sources and that would mean the required work could not be completed due to lack of funds,” said Gubula.
She said funding to replenish the Mlungisi sub-station would be re-allocated in the “outer financial years” to ensure it was also fully revamped.