Municipal Finance 4th Quarter Review Closeout Report 2014/15

By George Mari, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA:

THE Report tabled on the performance of KZN municipalities says only one thing – the ANC has failed the people of this province.  In fact there should be a new phrase coined – #theANCmustfall.

After 21 years in power the ANC has failed to get municipalities to function effectively, efficiently and deliver much needed services. Now they want to go ‘back to basics’.

This at a time when communities are taking to the streets in violent protest, demanding basic services such as water and sanitation, electricity and housing.

At a time when KZN is facing its worst drought ever, we find municipalities under-spending their operating budget by over R3 billion.  This is criminal.

A look at the capital budget shows under-spending of R1.4 billion.  This may be a slight improvement from last years’ R1.7 billion but it remains unacceptable that 46 municipalities underspent their budgets by 5% or more. Only seven KZN municipalities were on target. The DA fully agrees with the MEC that low spending by municipalities’ impacts on service delivery.

Imagine what could have been done with R3 billion;

  • Leaking infrastructure could be fixed, saving millions of kilolitres of water lost through leaks
  • Electricity could be provided to thousands of homes
  • Housing could be provided to thousands of homeless families that are languishing in shack settlements
  • Money could be pumped into education, health and welfare services.

Let me remind the comrades in this house about the National Development Plan which spells out measures on eradicating poverty and dealing with joblessness.

The level of poverty in KZN can be measured in the burgeoning debt crisis which has seen a staggering R3.1 billion jump – an increase of some 31 percent. These figures exclude Msunduzi.  Currently, R10.5 billion is outstanding over 90 days.

The biggest challenges facing KZN municipalities are the same that have been around for a number of years – cadre deployment, the lack of consequences for incompetence and failure to address fraud and corruption.

The MEC for COGTA has only now called for a declaration of skills in the form of qualifications to be submitted to her office.  If she was truly serious about dealing with this ongoing scourge she would implement the municipal skills audit she has been promising for ages.