Letter to the editor: Municpal failures must be reversed

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader:

The state of municipal finances in the Northern Cape gives credence to Minister Gordhan’s assessment that a third of municipalities are failing. Municipal failures must be reversed through improved financial management and better service delivery.

The money meant to serve communities is there, but it is being badly misspent. Over the past three financial years, for example, fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by Northern Cape municipalities increased by 81%. At the Tsantsabane municipality alone, penalties of

R33 million was incurred due to the late submission of VAT returns.

Officials should have known when to submit the returns, as the tax cycle is no secret to any South African. This example illustrates perfectly what happens when cadre deployment is prioritised above service delivery.

We need jobs for professionals, not jobs for pals. In the previous financial year, contracts worth a collective R49.9 million were awarded to councillors, municipal employees, other state officials and their family members. The subsequent contracts are often not monitored for performance.

Currently, the provincial government lacks the political will to address the root causes of poor audit outcomes. Year in and year out, the Auditor-General raises the same findings on poor supply chain management, a lack of consequences for transgressions and bad management of municipal finances. We are doomed to repeat these findings, because the ANC does not take its incompetent comrades to task.

The DA looks forward to being voted into power next year, so that we can reverse the failures brought about by the ANC.