Msunduzi struggling to spend millions in grant funding

2013-03-05 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality has failed to spend milions in aid money from various government departments, including a R135 million infrastructure grant, and could now lose it.

This is despite chronic power and other infrastructure problems which have plagued Pietermaritzburg residents for years.

Opposition parties in the council have called on the municipal management to prioritise the spending of conditional grants, to avoid losing the money by the end of June.

IFP caucus leader Dolo Zondi said it would be a “sad state of affairs” if the municipality lost the money, “because it would mean that the municipality does not have competent people running the administration”.

This matter was raised at the Executive Committee (Exco) meeting last week, where it emerged that the municipality had received, but not spent, more than R217 million in conditional grants.

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said these were conditional grants which were given for specific projects, but could not specify what the projects were.

“Thankfully not all of them are at risk of being recalled if we don’t spend them.”

The government recalls grants if they are not spent at the end of the financial year. Nkosi said the amount at risk of being recalled was about R135 million in infrastructure grants.

“But we are working around the clock to ensure that we spend all that money by the end of June 2013,” he said.

Later, after speaking to the deputy municipal manager for infrastructure, Thokozani Maseko, Nkosi sent The Witness an SMS saying, “We do not run the risk of non-expenditure; on the flip side, we are currently over-committed to the amount of R3 million.”

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert said it was good news that the city had money, while NFP caucus leader Ntokozo Bhengu said it was worrying that the municipality still had so much unspent money, although there was much that needed to be done in the city.

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