Nkomazi fails to spend millions of Municipal Infrastructure Grant while residents are without water

Cllr. Mariette Preddy

DA Councillor: Nkomazi local municipality:

Due to lack of capacity and mismanagement of funds by ANC officials, communities around rural Nkomazi municipality are living under appalling conditions as millions of rands allocated to the municipality via the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), have been surrendered to treasury, due to underspending.

In August and October last year, communities of Mzinti, Tonga and Block A, B and C in the ANC run Nkomazi municipality, went on a rampage and barricaded roads with burning tyres and rocks – in protest of lack of basic amenities like water, electricity, housing and sanitation.

In a council meeting on January 23 2015, three months after the protests, the municipality released a report which shows that they failed to spend R45 million which was allocated as MIG funds. This money had to be returned to national treasury.

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) does not support violent service delivery protests, it leaves much to be desired as to why the municipality always fails to use its allocated IMG’s when people are living in these appalling conditions.

This money could have been used to extend or maintain the infrastructure for the provision of basic services such as water; electricity and sanitation in the areas were the Nkomazi protests took place.

It goes beyond comprehension, how the ANC can continue to mislead the public of Nkomazi by claiming cash shortages and budget pressures as reasons for non-delivery and development, when over R45 million in grants had to be returned to national treasury.

Conditional MIG’s provide crucial funds for local governments to finance infrastructure development with a focus on the poor.

It is a disgrace that thousands of our people in Nkomazi continue to live in shacks without water, electricity or flushing toilets, while over R45 million of the MIG was not spent by the municipality.

In 2009/10 a total of 272 municipalities in South Africa were assigned R8.739 billion in municipal infrastructure grants, of which only R6.575 billion or 75% was spent.  In 12 of the 13 municipalities run by the DA at the time, including Midvaal, 100% of MIG allocations were spent. In contrast, only 34% of non-DA municipalities spent their full allotment.

The reality is that people get the government they vote for. Voters can choose between a DA-led government with a proven track record of delivery, or they can settle for an ANC government unwilling and unable to deliver on its election promises.