By David Setjie, DA councillor at Polokwane Municipality:
The DA has discovered that Polokwane Municipality is planning to return a staggering R188 million of conditional grants aimed to upgrade the ailing water infrastructure projects back to the National Treasury after failing to spend the money on various projects aimed at improving the lives of Polokwane residents.
Today, we have written to the Executive Mayor of this municipality , Thembi Nkadimeng , to establish internal investigations to probe this under spending and act swiftly against officials being responsible for delaying these projects.
It is also alleged that the delay was done deliberately as the targeted companies owned by ANC bigwigs had too many projects to deal with and opted to ignore the emerging companies that are owned by ordinary citizens not affiliated with the ANC.
The affected water projects includes:
- Badimong Regional water scheme in Mankweng
- Molepo / Maja water scheme
- Rural sanitation
- Olifantspoort water plant
Now, water reservoir levels in the city are currently low after Olifantspoort Plant that supplies the city with water became dysfunctional due to the power supply at this aging water plant.
Failure to spend these grants is an affront to our people who rely on this municipality to provide them with services. The municipality has a huge service delivery backlog where many residents are still sharing water with animals.
The money could have been used to accelerate quality services to the residents of Polokwane. This failure to spend on conditional grants is a reflection of poor management by the ANC led municipality.
In the previous financial year, the municipality also underspent their budget by R251 million, making it impossible to achieve progress in delivering services to the people of Polokwane.
It is clear that the Municipality finds itself in a financial crisis and therefore, we cannot allow this municipality to underspend its grant while people continue to suffer.
The DA believes that an urgent action is needed to put plans in place for this municipality by employing qualified and suitable officials to run the financial affairs of the municipality and to ensure that grants are spend adequately in this financial year.