Audit into unspent grant funds

2013-11-06 00:00

COUNCILS still sitting with unspent grant funds in their bank accounts has prompted the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in KwaZulu-Natal to take a closer look at the funds allocated to them.

An audit of the millions in grant funding it transferred to 61 municipalities in the province over the past two years will be carried out.

Where councils are found to have used grant funds for other purposes, the department has threatened to reclaim the transferred funds.

“We can’t yet quantify how much was not spent,” department spokesperson Vernon Mchunu said yesterday.

However, a departmental report showed that a total of R444 million was transferred by the department to municipalities in 2012/13, as at September. Of the amount transferred, only R93 million was recorded as being spent.

Mchunu also said the audit was motivated by the audit report released by the auditor-general.

“Ours is to monitor and assist where it is necessary so that we don’t receive recurrence of the same thing and the auditor-general being not happy,” he said.

“The audit will also show whether municipalities used the grant funds for other purposes.”

A policy, tabled last week at Muni­Mec — a forum of the MEC and mayors — emphasised that municipalities should utilise the grant “exclusively” for the projects in the business plan they submitted to Cogta.

According to Mchunu, there were instances where councils spent grant funding such as the Municipal Infrastructure Grant to pay for shortfalls in salaries of their employees.

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