Draft budget delay

2010-04-01 00:00

SHOWING a united front, the new Msunduzi political leaders called their first joint press conference at the Pietermaritzburg city hall yesterday to give reasons for the delay in the publication of the municipality’s draft budget.

In terms of legislation, a municipality’s draft budget has to be tabled before March 31 in any given year and thereafter be made available for the public to scrutinise before its adoption.

Due to the recent political turmoil that resulted in a leadership overhaul in the past few weeks, Msunduzi’s draft budget has not been tabled on time.

Tarr said the tabling of the draft budget was delayed because of the government’s intervention process that resulted in Johann Mettler assuming administrative powers.

Mettler said that although a draft budget has been prepared, it was compiled before the intervention and needs to be reworked.

Tarr said: “It doesn’t make sense to table a draft budget without Mettler’s turnaround strategy being incorporated into it. We need to look at [Mettler’s] report first, deal with its recommendations and then work them into the budget.”

Mettler said it is vital for the municipality to have a credible budget in the light of all the problems it has faced.

An early draft of the turnaround strategy for the municipality will be made available towards the end of next week, said Mettler.

“By the end of April, we’ll submit a proper draft budget to the council structure,” said Mettler.

He said he has liaised with Tarr and advised him that in the circumstances the best path of action for the municipality will be to delay the publication of the draft budget because he realises that significant changes need to be made.

Mettler said he cannot go into detail about the changes now because he first wants to follow the proper channels.

“We don’t want to be seen as flouting legislation willy-nilly, and information has been relayed to the relevant ministers, both nationally and provincially …” said Mettler.

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert endorsed the remarks, saying: “It’s the first press conference where we have met as a collective, so we’re off to a good start.”

Lambert said it is clear that the new leadership is more concerned about putting the needs of the city first by sorting out poor service delivery and reversing the dire state of the city’s finances.

Tarr said he wants to make it very clear that the executive committee is working as a collective, irrespective of political affiliation.

“We all have the same objectives and there are no splits, unless you want to make them up,” joked Tarr, looking at the media.

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