ANC’s call for 75% debt cancellation is reckless and short-sighted – Mayor Campbell
The ANC caucus in Ekurhuleni reiterated its call for 75% debt cancellation of all municipal household accounts in the town, especially debts from the previous term, which are said to be above 90%.
The cross-party coalition government has rejected the proposal, saying massive debt cancellation is not financially viable as it could bring the municipality to its knees, hampering service delivery.
Metro, however, stressed that it is drafting a debt review policy that will allow the City to assess requests for debt relief on a case-by-case basis, which will see successful applicants receive a percentage of debt cancellation.
The ANC initially made the call at the city’s regular council meeting held on January 27. He then reiterated that call on Twitter this week, and the ANC’s chief whip in the city, Jongizizwe Dlabathi, also reportedly repeated the proposal in a recent radio interview.
In her March 15 response, Ekurhuleni Mayor Tania Campbell described the ANC’s appeal as a reckless and shortsighted proposal that could leave the municipality unable to generate much-needed revenue to help provide residents the quality service they deserve.
“The City’s cross-party coalition has criticized the ANC for its ploy to incite civil unrest through its reckless proposal.
“The mismanagement of the city’s finances by the ANC-led coalition during the previous term has strained the municipality and brought it to the brink of collapse,” Campbell said in a statement.
Disastrous financial situation
The mayor said the cross-party coalition has worked tirelessly to stabilize the city’s dire financial situation and is committed to getting back to basics and providing reliable and sustainable services to communities across the city.
“Our vision of good governance will not be derailed by the ANC, which is trying in every way to bring the municipality to its knees. Ultimately, this will affect the poorest of the poor the most.
“Under the ANC-led coalition government, Moody’s credit rating downgraded the city’s rating, which imposed additional burdens on borrowing, which is now exorbitantly expensive. As a result, we had to reduce our proposed borrowing by R500 million.
“The ANC Caucus politicizes the plight of the city’s ordinary residents, while under their leadership they offered no hope to communities. This is the ANC’s latest abandoned attempt to win back voters they have failed for 22 years. The mobilization of the inhabitants by political expediency is the lowest form of populism.
Debt rehabilitation program
Campbell pointed out that the Ekurhuleni Department of Finance and Economic Development is currently drafting a debt review policy that will allow the town to assess requests for debt relief on a case-by-case basis.
“As a caring multi-party coalition government, we understand the effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our communities.
“As the City, we will provide debt relief responsibly to ensure the sustainability of the Metro’s liquidity position.
Campbell called for calm in Kwa-Thema and urged residents to engage with government through relevant legislative channels, such as ward councilors and ward committees.
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