Ratepayers should be querying municipal finances

2016-11-02 06:02

ALTHOUGH Greytown ratepayers and residents do not take an active interest in the workings of the municipality, they are very quick to comment, so they might find the following features of last week's Exco and Statutory Council meetings interesting.

According to the Municipal Finance Management Act the accounting officer "must submit to the mayor, in a prescribed format, not later than 10 working days into the month, the state of their budget reflecting financial particulars for that month".

Since July this apparently has not been done.

Alderman Maharaj told the Greytown Gazette that after much pleading a quarterly statement to the end of September was presented to Exco on 25 October and council­ on 28 October.

The three-monthly report has, however, raised more queries than were circulating in the ratepayers' rumour mill.

The report did not conform to the prescribed format in terms of the Act.

To confuse councillors and others even more, especially those who had realised the non-compliance issues, an addendum was then published for the council meeting.

But this did not clarify things as the addendum does not state which item is being replaced.

Have a look at this - there is a difference of R2 343 557 for the investment amount shown in Annexure X to the one shown in the addendum.

Even more out of sync, a R3 000 000 difference in the statement of the financial position show investments at R45 857 464, yet the investment portfolio report shows this figure as R48 199 019.25.

Even more bewildering and alarming, the comparison of cash on hand and the bank balance shows that according to the statement­’s financial position the municipality has no cash, yet in terms of the closing balance for cash and cash equivalent to the addendum there is cash of R7 603 941.22

Ratepayers have probably noticed and commented adversely about the number of armed security guards who have now become a fixture of the Umvoti Municipal landscape.

When the mayor was appointed on 18 February, 2015 it was stated that "it is the responsibility of the municipality to provide protection services to the mayor and that due to the nature of services required, the Supply Chain Management process could not be followed and we there- fore deviated in terms of Section 36".

A company was appointed at a cost of R185 000, but it was not clarified whether this is the monthly or annual cost.

Another company was appointed on 28 August for a contract of R287 500, again this was not specified if it was a monthly or annual amount.

If this is per month - ratepayers are covering a cost of over R3 000 000.

What can ratepayers do - attend council meetings, form a ratepayers' association and ask your councillor to explain to you why he or she voted as they did.

Ward Committees are to be appointed by the end of this month - make your voice heard - remember it is your community.

Join the conversation!

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