Cut the luxuries, MEC warns

2009-07-22 00:00

MUNICIPALITIES in the province have been urged to cut frivolous spending and reprioritise their spending amid the current global economic meltdown.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Willies Mchunu, issued this directive while he was tabling his department’s budget vote in the legislature yesterday.

Mchunu conveyed the stern warning that some municipalities were still spending their budgets on “frills and luxuries”, despite warnings from the Finance Department.

“In the time when the country is in recession everybody should tighten their belts and spend wisely and more on service delivery. It was worrying that some leaders in municipalities appear to be oblivious to the current economic difficulties,” he said.

Municipalities, said Mchunu, should reduce their spending on hotel accommodation, flying first-class and attending every function across the country even if it is not part of their core business. The limited monetary resources at disposal, he added, must be spent on community development projects rather than on avoidable expenses.

Presenting his R1,2 billion budget, Mchunu said that his department will work with role-players to eradicate corruption.

He said corruption siphons funds and depletes resources earmarked for the poor. He said his department will continue to act on information coming through from the municipal anti-corruption hotline.

“I appeal to all those who are languishing in perpetual guilt for the way they have abused taxpayers’ money to desist, before we come [down] hard on them. In dealing with corruption at all levels, we will be blind to political regalia, emblem or loyalty,” said Mchunu.

He said that the process of establishment of the municipal standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) in all municipalities is at an advanced stage.

Mchunu said that his department will assist in fighting crime as well.

“Our contribution to this war is to mobilise our stakeholders in the local government sector, including traditional leaders, ward committees, and community development workers [CDWs] to play an active role in strengthening our fight against crime,” he said.

In heeding KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize’s call for “one garden, one home” campaign, CDWs and ward committees working collectively with traditional leaders will be at the forefront of driving this process on the ground.

The MEC said R163 345 million will be allocated to facilitate the new mandate of integrated and co-operative governance, and the department will soon undergo a name change to the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department.

 

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