District starved of cash

2008-06-26 00:00

Non-payment of money owed by local municipalities to uMgungundlovu District Municipality is putting severe strain on its finances.

This is the warning from Finance MEC Zweli Mkhize, who delivered the municipal mid-year assessment report at the legislature yesterday.

The report makes special mention of uMgungundlovu, which is owed about R23,9 million by uMngeni Municipality for water and sanitation, functions that should have been transferred to the district municipality.

The legislature’s portfolio committees on Local Government and on Finance have resolved that a task team be formed to speed up the transfer of the two functions.

This committee, comprising mayors, municipal managers and CFOs from the two municipalities, is expected to report back by the end of August.

Mkhize said the other factors contributing to the poor performance of some municipalities include poor cash-flow management, lack of fiscal control and ineffective financial management.

“It is evident that our municipalities are struggling to effectively sustain their operations,” Mkhize said.

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader Lionel Mtshali urged the government to “focus capacity building at municipalities on core matters such as finances and personnel”.

He added: “Time and time again the mid-term municipal performance assessment … suggests that local government is the weakest link in the country’s three-tier system of governance.”

Another IFP MPL, Inkosi Ngamizizwe Madlala, lambasted the government for its reluctance to take disciplinary measures against non-performing ANC-led municipalities.

“The MEC [for Local Government, Mike Mabuyakhulu] has never shown even-handedness when dealing with the IFP- and ANC-run municipalities. He is quick to punish IFP municipalities, but is patient with ANC municipalities. We are not saying that there he should fold hands, but are saying that there should be even-handedness”.

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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