Tshwane mayor Brink ‘not going anywhere’ as ANC turns up the heat on the metro for financial troubles

16 February 2024 - 06:30 By SINESIPHO SCHRIEBER
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Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink in the spotlight this week.
Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink in the spotlight this week.
Image: Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier

Tshwane metro mayor Cilliers Brink has dismissed claims by ANC that he plans to leave his post and return to parliament as an MP amid the municipality’s financial troubles, with R23bn owed to it and the risk of losing millions in development grants.    

Brink was an MP for about four years before he was appointed as the capital city’s mayor in March 2023. ANC member and former Tshwane leader Kgoši Maepa on Wednesday claimed Brink was among DA members aiming to be on the party’s 2024 MP candidate list.     

“Credible sources tell us that mayor Brink is about to resign. He attended a DA interview for selection of members of parliament for the 2024 elections. Apparently, the DA is deeply worried about the imminent release of the AG report,” Maepa said.     

Brink, within hours, countered Maepa, saying he did not plan to leave his job.   

“Dear Dr Mampara — I’m going nowhere. The last candidate you fielded in Tshwane was an unrehabilitated insolvent. We’re trying to save Tshwane from insolvency, and from networks of corruption serving your comrades,” Brink said, lashing back at Maepa.   

This week Brink tabled a financial plan for the metro to claw back some of the R23.3bn owed to it by consumers. The amount increased from R17bn in April 2023 to the R23.3bn. In the same week, the National Treasury flagged that the municipality risked losing more than R600m in development grants.    

The municipality’s financial woes were put in the spotlight by co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Thembi Nkadimeng during the state of the nation address (Sona) in which she bashed DA governance, saying the municipality was sinking into debt.    

“According to information submitted to the National Treasury, the city owed Eskom R1.6bn on June 30 2023 and Rand Water R860m. Tintswalo aspirations in Tshwane are shattered. The City of Tshwane submitted their financial statements for the year ending June 30 to the AG at the end of November. Three months after the deadline. As a result of the late submission, the AG finding is only expected in March while other municipalities already announced their audit outcomes during their January council,” she said.   

Brink, in his financial rescue plan, said the metro would reduce expenditure to about R1bn monthly in the next six months.    

“What we have to our advantage is a R23.3bn debtors’ book that we aim to turn into cash. If a quarter of this debtor’s book is collectable, it is collectable in the next six months. If we succeed, we improve our cash flow, our Eskom account as well as our credibility and creditworthiness,” he said.   

ActionSA provincial chairperson Funzi Ngobeni said the coalition partners supported the metro’s “financial rescue plan”.   

“With the debtor’s book of R23bn, the city plans to collect R6.2bn over the next six months by bringing back the #Tshwaneyatima campaign. This campaign will see accelerated revenue collection efforts targeting the top 1,500 large debtors,” Ngobeni said.

“Further to this, the city plans on reducing expenditure by R1bn each month for the next six months. This will be achieved through reducing bulk expenses, ensuring that all customers receive their billing and resolving billing disputes speedily.”   

Brink was elected in March last year after Cope’s Dr Murunwa Makwarela was ousted. He is the second DA member to become mayor after Randall Williams’s abrupt resignation after auditor-general’s findings of serious irregularities and failing to submit the correct financial statements for the July 2021 to June 2022 financial year. 

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