KZN municipalities: MEC must conduct skills audit

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA

The Democratic Alliance is extremely concerned by the massive sums being returned to Treasury by KwaZulu-Natal municipalities.

This follows last week’s revelation that R443 million in unspent conditional grants has been handed back over the past five financial years – R120 million from the last financial year. The figure is set to increase for 2012/13 as an undisclosed number of municipalities have again failed to spend their grants.

Municipalities’ failure to spend conditional grants has severely compromised service delivery and has impacted particularly on poor communities, especially in rural areas.

In some cases conditional grants are even being used for operational and other expenses.

A lack of skills and capacity within municipalities has further crippled delivery.  Unskilled cadres being parachuted into top jobs has led to the regression of several municipalities during the last financial year. Poor planning and a reliance on consultants to implement projects and assist in financial controls have not helped matters, with several municipalities still failing to produce the desired results.

The DA has repeatedly called for a comprehensive skills audit across all KZN municipalities in order to address this problem.  Regrettably, KZN COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube is yet to act and is dragging her heels over what is undoubtedly going to be an unpopular decision.

The DA again calls on the MEC to ensure that this audit takes place.  Accounting officers and senior managers must be held responsible for poor performance and should be disciplined and dismissed.