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A lack of local demand remains a major obstacle limiting Matjhabeng local municipality’s economic growth potential, and to the success of attracting investments to revive the local economy.
As part of enhancing and to revitalize the local economy in its six townships, Matjhabeng mayor Thanduxolo Khalipa has taken a distinctive direction to formulate a contingency plan to invigorate the ailing municipality.
Matjhabeng has been grasping at straws, and was flagged as a corrupt municipality following its previous corruption scandals that have plagued the municipality and led to the ‘brink of collapse‘.
This is corroborated by the latest report tabled by auditor-general Tsakani Maluleke in June this year, where her office found that Matjhabeng’s financial statements had a deficiency of R1.3 billion.
In her report, Maluleke stated that the municipality’s liabilities in the 2020/21 financial year exceeded its current assets by almost R6 billion.
In the findings, it was also discovered that the troubled municipality owed the power utility, Eskom, a whopping R3.4 billion, while as of June 20, 2020, it owed Sedibeng Water R3.6 billion.
The municipality was red-flagged for wasteful, fruitful and irregular expenditure due to overspending and for the failure to adhere to the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).
Another major setback facing Matjhabeng, is high levels of unemployment and a lack of financial support for under-pressured local small businesses.
Having taken the reins from the former Matjhabeng mayor Nkosinjani Speelman, Khalipa rolled-out an anti-corruption drive in an attempt to recoup financial losses.
He launched Operation Patala in a bid to improve its revenue collection by dealing harshly with defaulters.
Recently, Matjhabeng has been hosting major events to attract investors to take part in reviving the besieged municipality to get its feet together.
On Thursday, September 29 and Friday, September 30, the municipality, together with Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) will be hosting an Economic Development summit.
According to the statement seen by Kasi Voice News, the key role of this crucial summit is to attract investment, revive the local economy and create jobs.
“The summit is expected to be attended by national ministries, provincial structures, experts on economic development and local stakeholders.
The Executive Mayor [Thanduxolo Khalipa] will be hosting an Imbizo at 16:30 at the Thabong Community Centre on Thursday, which will be attended by ministers that will be part of the summit,” read a press release.
On day one, Thursday September 29, Free State MECs and Free State Premier Sefora ‘Sisi’ Ntombela are lined up to give messages of support, while in session two, cabinet minister will also share their words of support to the initiative.
On day two, Khalipa will be handing over certificates of recognition to the young entrepreneurs in Phomolong, followed by keynote speakers and other activities to wrap up the major event.