City mum on budget

2016-09-19 09:51
Questions over amount of Msunduzi investment funds.

Questions over amount of Msunduzi investment funds. (File)

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Msunduzi Municipality’s intention to issue a tender to manage its investment funds has raised questions of just how much money there is in the city’s coffers.

The municipality’s budget shows it had R720,6 million for investments at the end of the last financial year.

Then, according to a report to the Strategic Management Committee dated June 30 this year, this amount rose to R945,3 million worth of investments, with most of the money being conditional grants.

The Witness inquired from the municipality about the sources of the money and was initially told that, according to their submissions to the auditor-general, the municipality had only R250,3 million worth of investments currently on hand.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said most of this money was in the form of unspent conditional grants set aside for the proposed Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network for the city.

However, on further inquiries concerning the difference in the amounts, Mafumbatha said the annual financial statements for 2015/2016 were still currently being audited by the auditor-general and would only be made available next January.

The Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) said the financial statements have not yet been audited so it could not comment further.

“It is also worth noting that it is the AGSA’s mandate not to discuss any of its audits until they have been formally tabled,” AGSA spokesperson Africa Boso said.

Conditional grants are funds allocated by a government department for a specific project in the city, and cannot be transferred to another project.

If the grant is unspent, it would need to be returned to the department concerned, or the municipality could ask for the funds to be rolled over into the next financial year.

The question of how about R700 million may have been spent over a period of three months was left unanswered.

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola is understood to have also inquired about the municipality’s grant-funded project activities, but had also received no reply from the municipality’s chief financial officer, Nelly Ngcobo.

It is, however, understood that a discussion on the city’s conditional grant spending is on the agenda for the full council’s next sitting.

Majola declined to comment on the issue until after the meeting.

Meanwhile VBS Mutual Bank — the bank that granted a loan to President Jacob Zuma to pay for his portion of the cost of upgrades at his Nkandla home — recently made an unsolicited bid to manage the investments of the Msunduzi Municipality, among other municipalities and state-owned entities in the province.

The municipality subsequently called for bids from interested parties to manage its investment capital. The deadline for the submission of those bids was on Friday (September 16).

Msunduzi indicated at the time of issuing the tender that all registered financial services companies and banks could bid for the work.

The provincial Treasury referred inquiries by The Witness to national Treasury, which did not respond to queries by the time of going to print.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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