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Oudtshoorn Municipality turnaround on track

Oudtshoorn, 11 July 2017 – Following ten months in charge, the new Oudtshoorn Council leadership is happy to announce that the turnaround of Oudtshoorn is proceeding well. Significant work has been done to date including addressing the out of control creditors account the new council inherited.

Executive Mayor Colan Sylvester says that the council had inherited a creditors account of around R110 million.

“Total overdue creditors have been reduced to R 28.5 Million,” the mayor said.

Sylvester says the implementation of statutory systems and strategies to turnaround Oudtshoorn Municipality are yielding many positive results.

The town was placed under administration in 2015. The administration ended with the 2016 Local Government elections in August.

“One of the reasons Oudtshoorn Municipality was placed under administration was inability to convene regular council meetings to take decisions that can improve the quality of life of the citizens of the Greater Oudtshoorn. Today, the municipality is proud to announce that it held 17 Council meetings between August 2016 and 29 June 2017, of which four were ordinary Council meetings,” Sylvester announced this week.

The mayor was reporting back on the Municipal performance in the 2016/2017 which ended on 30 June 2017.

“We can attribute the Municipality’s successes during past ten month since taking over in August 2016 to implementation. As promised, the new council does not only talk but remains actively involved in implementing real change to the Greater Oudtshoorn area.”

Some of the successes which are inseparable from good governance practices, include:

  • The annual report has served before council, was considered by the oversight committee and thereafter adopted without reservations.
  • Timely approval of the final fourth generation IDP that stretches from 2017 to 2022 as well as the Final 2017/2018 and MTREF (Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework) budget was approved in council on 30 March 2017 and was made available for public participation.
  • Ward committees have been established and ward committee processes are underway.
  • Finalisation of the latest organizational redesign and the placement of staff, (the new council intends, however to will embark on a revision of this organizational structure as part of its mandate).
  • For the first time in more than five years the entire top management positions (Municipal Manager and directors) have been filled. This brings stability in the administration component of the Municipality.

Finance

Even though the same successes can be echoed on financial matters there is still overwhelming task ahead before the council can declare a financially healthy municipality.

“One of the widely covered financial issues in the media and the community previously, was the debt owed to Eskom. It is satisfying to announce that Eskom debt has been reduced from R54 Million to R8.3 Million with Eskom agreeing to waive further interest on the outstanding debt,” said Sylvester.

Other major financial improvements include:

  • All unspent conditional grants are cash backed 
  • Liquidity position shows improvement with the municipality managing to service all its current operational expenses.
  • Capital spending, although below mid-year target, is improving with MIG spending targets met as required.
  • A new valuation roll has been drafted for implementation on 1 July 2017.
  • Debtors collection rate exceed 96% and all effort is made to further improve the ratio.
  • A Revenue enhancement strategy has been finalised with revenue enhancement efforts raising an additional R20 Million in revenue billed of which in excess of R16 Million has been paid.
  • Operational spending is within the norm with little variance from budgeted amounts.
  • The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) program for the 2016/2017 financial year has been fully executed.
  • Austerity and savings measures have resulted in a savings in excess of R7 million, in operational expenditure during the current financial year.
  • Municipal Standard Chart of Accounts (mSCOA) draft budget was compiled and submitted to National Treasury as required, the municipality is on track with the successful implementation of mSCOA.
  • Current creditors are paid within the legislative requirements with all arrangements on old debt being honoured.
  • The cash flow position although improved remains critical with hands-on cash flow management being done on a daily basis.
  • All statutory obligations have been brought up to date.
  • The financial year provisional results indicate an operating surplus of approximately R30 million for the 2016/2017 financial year.

“From the above it is clear that there has been a significant improvement since the intervention. Sadly the municipality still finds itself in a difficult liquidity and financial position with going concern risks being managed on a daily basis.”

“Considering the progress made to date, we remain positive that the municipality will meet its target for financial recovery set in the recovery plan and will continue improving its financial position to a point where the financial sustainability over the medium and long term is secured.

“We want to be in a position where we will be able to successfully execute our legislative mandate and provide high quality municipal services to all our communities, thereby ensuring prosperity for all, as our new vision states,” Sylvester concluded.

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