Municipal grants probe coming

2010-10-07 21:58

Johannesburg - Municipalities who have not fully spent their infrastructure grants will be investigated soon, the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department said on Thursday.

"An audit on money not spent will occur soon, we must investigate to make sure of where it went," spokesperson Mbulelo Musi told Sapa.

"We are in the process of making this happen."

Musi was referring to an annual report released earlier this week, by Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka, indicating that most municipalities were not spending their Municipal Infrastructure Grants (MIG).

"After the minister became aware of the report, he immediately said we should make it public as this impacts negatively on critical areas in service delivery, such as water, electricity, sanitation and waste management services," he said.

The report, on the 2009/10 financial year which ended in June, shows that out of the country's 283 municipalities, 56 spent less than 80% of their MIGs.

Out of the 283, 80 spent less than 90% of their allocated funds.

Eliminate corruption

In a statement on the matter, Shiceka said: "The inability of municipalities to spend vindicates the correctness of a call for the urgent establishment of the 'special purpose vehicle'."

This "vehicle" would help eliminate corruption, make procurement of services more efficient and cheaper and address the lack of municipal staff.

It would further address problems in appointing competent and professional staff capable of working "diligently, effectively and efficiently".

He called for the amendment of the Municipal Systems Act, a topic recently discussed at the ANC's national general council.

The act should ensure people holding public political office not be employed in key managerial posts such as chief financial officers or municipal managers, Shiceka said.

Performance gap

The Democratic Alliance earlier stated that the poor could expect to see greater infrastructure development under a DA-led municipality, than one run by another party.

DA spokesperson James Lorimer said at a media briefing in Cape Town that the DA's 13 municipalities spent 95% of their MIGs.

The 259 non-DA municipalities that received MIGs spent only 75% of theirs - leaving R2.2bn unspent.

"Indeed, an impressive 13 out of 14 (93%) of DA municipalities spent 100% of their MIG allotments.

"Only 34% of non-DA municipalities did the same," he said.

DA-led municipalities left only R6m unspent (or R462 000 per municipality).

"Non-DA municipalities left R2.2bn unspent (which could pay for almost 40 000 RDP houses, and an average of R8.4m per municipality).

"This shows that there is a performance gap between the DA and other political parties; South Africans deserve to be aware of this difference," he said.