DA welcomes audit into KZN municipal infrastructure grant funding

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal welcomes an announcement by the province’s COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube, that an audit into infrastructure grant funding allocated to municipalities will take place.

According to a departmental report, a total of R444?million was transferred by the department to municipalities in 2012/13, as at September. Of the amount transferred, only R93?million was recorded as being spent.

These numbers are a huge concern. The situation is unacceptable and those municipalities guilty of spending funding on purposes for which they are not intended must be brought to book and the funds recalled.

The use of conditional grants for operational expenses – without their being cash-backed – has become endemic within KwaZulu-Natal municipalities and was even cited by the Auditor General in his recent report. The impact on communities is enormous as many of the projects under conditional grants are desperately needed.

Another matter which requires investigation is the withholding of funds under goods and services by the COGTA department which are only released when the project is ready to be implemented. There was a similar case within KZN Human Settlements, where municipalities were either withholding funds earmarked for housing or they were unspent which impacted on delivery.

The DA questions whether this is a case of fiscal dumping by the department and calls on the MEC for COGTA to provide clarity on this issue.

The DA will, in the interim, submit written parliamentary questions to the MEC.  We want to know why funds were transferred to municipalities who do not spend the money for its intended purposes.  We will also ask for a breakdown of projects that have not been implemented and what the impact has been on communities.