George Mari, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA)
DESPITE 12 KwaZulu-Natal municipalities having been allocated R1 million almost a year and a half ago, for the establishment of animal pounds, most have failed to meet the deadline imposed by the province’s COGTA department and are now at risk of losing their funding.
The information forms part of a report back to the province’s COGTA portfolio committee last month. The building of pounds forms part of a departmental initiative to reduce the high number of stray animals on the province’s roads.
In 2011, KZN COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube approved funding for the following municipalities – Umzimkhulu, Umdoni, Greater Kokstad, Okhahlamba, Endumeni, Newcastle, Jozini, uPhongolo, Umlalazi, KwaSani, Mkhambathini and Umzumbe. Funds were transferred in February 2011. In March this year it was revealed that only three municipalities had complied with the order and the deadline extended to July 2012. This deadline has come and gone and the situation is no better.
The underlying problem appears to be a lack of urgency. Some municipalities seem to have a lack of technical capacity, with these critical posts having been vacant for several months. Others are resorting to service providers to manage the entire process and are also experiencing difficulty in overseeing these projects. Certain municipalities have also indicated that change within councils and /or management has negatively impacted on project progress. The unavailability and consequent acquisition of suitable land has also had a delaying effect on the construction process within several municipalities, the most noticeable being KwaSani, Uphongolo, Mkhambathini and Okhahlamba. In short, municipalities have shown that they lack either the will or the ability to deliver services, despite having the funds at their disposal.
The DA calls on KZN COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube to provide the necessary capacity and technical skills to municipalities to ensure these pounds are built. Stray animals pose a major threat to motorists, particularly on rural roads and until there is intervention, they will continue to be the cause of serious accidents.
Municipalities must comply – the recall of these funds should not be an option.