LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS STEPCHILD OF GAUTENG BUDGET

Just under a year ago political parties’ local government campaigns were in full swing, highlighting service delivery issues and promising improved municipal resources and management. Unfortunately these promises have come to naught in the Gauteng provincial budget announced by the MEC for finance on Tuesday.   Local government (cooperative governance) was allocated R 198,762 million out of a total expenditure of R 69,311 billion or 0,29% of the budget.   To add insult to injury the ANC administration in Gauteng reduced the local government budget by R52,7 million compared to the previous financial year before the budget was adjusted. The proposed allocation for local government is R 71,7 million less than the adjusted budget.   Even more shocking is that the Department of Local Government and Housing’s administration budget (R266, 740 million) is larger than the allocation to support local government in the province.   Local government has become the victim of overspending by other government departments, especially health, and has to contribute towards bailing them out of debt. This is as a result of poor financial management by the Gauteng provincial government which has no prospect of recovering since those who caused the mess are still in charge.   It is clear that the ANC government, less than a year after the local government elections, has abandoned municipal governments in Gauteng and that they are no longer the priority it promised during the elections.   This will no doubt impact on service delivery by municipalities in the province as the provincial government now has fewer resources to support it. If the Gauteng government is serious about local government it needs to allocate more resources in support of municipalities to ensure that they improve service delivery.   Fred Nel MPL DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Local Government

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