Barefaced looting of Makana condemned by DA

Kevin Mileham, MP

Constituency Leader, Frontier (Grahamstown & Port Alfred)

The admission at a council meeting last week by the mayor of Makana Municipality, Zamuxolo Peter, that the municipality had utilised some 72% of its Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) for 2013-14 to fund operational expenditure must surely rank as one of the most blatant misuses of municipal finance in recent memory.

It vindicates the repeated warnings issued by Democratic Alliance councillors Les Reynolds and Brian Fargher.

MIG funding is provided by the National Treasury as a conditional grant to upgrade and maintain municipal infrastructure. As such, it is strictly regulated in what it can and cannot be used for. Paying of salaries and other operational expenditure is clearly outside the framework of its intended purpose.

One of the downsides to such irregular expenditure is that National Treasury can withhold all or part of the grant in future, thereby further jeopardising service delivery of essential services such as water, roads and electricity.

The MIG was R27.988 million in total. Of this, R17.467 million was actually received by the municipality. The remainder was not transferred because of the municipality’s mismanagement and under-expenditure. The municipality spent 27.62% of the R17.467 million (or R4.824 million) on MIG projects. The remainder of the R17.467 million (R12.642 million) was misspent on operational expenditure.

DA MPL Dacre Haddon is driving this issue with the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, at a provincial level, while I have already raised the matter in parliament by directing questions to the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.

We demand that the municipal officials who were involved in this misconduct be identified and held accountable for their actions, and dealt with to the full extent of the law.  We will continue to call for Makana Municipality to be placed under administration in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution, especially while the crisis with the city’s water prevails.

The barefaced looting of the public purse by Zuma’s ANC, and the consequential failure of service delivery, is a far cry from the hopes and aspirations South Africa’s citizens held close to their hearts in 1994.

The DA will ensure that municipal budgets are properly established, managed and spent, and that the services that grants such as MIG are intended to improve receive the necessary funding. We will not allow a once-thriving municipality like Makana to become another statistic of service delivery failure through the inept administration of Zuma’s ANC.