‘KZN tops spending on capital projects’

2010-08-20 00:00

MOST KwaZulu-Natal municipalities are dependent on the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) for service delivery-related projects, says Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube.

During debate in the KZN Legislature on first-quarter municipal budget performance, Dube pointed out that by the end of March, capital spending by municipalities in respect of MIG was R1,7 billion (95,02%) of the R1,8 billion total allocation for 2009/10 financial year.

Out of 61 municipalities, 52 have committed 100% of their funds and only four municipalities have committed less than 80%. They are uMhlabuyalingana (62%), Mtubatuba (45%), Mfolozi/Mbonambi (40%) and Nkandla (70%).

“We remain confident that when all the figures have been tallied up, KwaZulu-Natal will continue its trend of being the leading province in spending on its capital investment projects,” Dube said.

But she added: “Many municipalities are just not viable, particularly those in remote rural areas of the province.

“Based on year-on-year audit figures, across the province only six municipalities raise 80% or more of their own revenue compared …

“Thirty-nine municipalities raise income of between 15% and 80% in own revenue. Eighteen municipalities raise income of 15% or less in own revenue.”

The MEC said she is concerned about the increase in outstanding debt and concurred with Finance MEC Ina Cronje that this could be attributed to ineffective credit control.

“… I am not as concerned about the current debt situation as I am about the outstanding debt that is historical and attributed to various factors, including long outstanding government debt, high levels of indigence, ineffective categorisation of household/business debtors, inability to collect due to a lack of capacity. In some instances councils do not implement effective credit control …”

Dube called on public servants and municipal officials to pay for services, and said she is advising municipalities to recover these debts by docking civil servants’ salaries.

“They must not hesitate to implement the strictest provisions of their credit control policies, which may include sales in execution if necessary …” Dube added.

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