The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it welcomes the report by the Office of the Public Protector into excessive charges on electricity tariffs within the Mantsopa Municipality, SurgeZirc SA reports.
The DA Leader in the Mantsopa Municipality, Cllr Tania Halse, made this known in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Halse said the report, which came about on the insistence and pressure by the DA, is a win not only for residents in the Mantsopa Municipality but also sets an important precedent for similar matters across the country.
Halse revealed that the party approached the Public Protector in November 2018, after it became aware of concerns over excessive charges on electricity tariffs within the Mantsopa Municipality.
“The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) approved increases in tariffs, was initially approved in the Mantsopa Council at an increase of 6.84%, however, the Mantsopa Municipality and Centlec requested NERSA to approve a second increase of 6.84%, which the Mantsopa Council never approved and was never taken for public participation.
“Despite the DA having brought this ill-advised increase in electricity tariffs to the attention of the Mantsopa Council, we were ignored and our voices drowned out by the ANC-majority,” Halse said.
According to the statement, the report released by the Office of the Public Protector this week is a vindication of the DA’s initial position. Other than the various counts of maladministration and improper conduct identified in the investigation by the Office of the Public Proctor, the report determines specific remedial action and it places an obligation on the provincial department of COGTA to “determine the extent of financial loss suffered by the residents of the Municipality and the manner in which they must be refunded or credited”.
“If the ANC cannot even charge and implement the correct electricity tariffs, how do they expect to effectively govern an entire municipality.
“The DA will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the remedial action highlighted by the Office of the Public Protector is implemented and further that the Acting Municipal Manager submits an implementation plan on how the refund or credit in terms of the financial loss suffered by the residents of the Mantsopa Municipality will be determined within 90 days from the date of receipt of this report,” Halse concluded.