City can’t spend budget

2008-05-08 00:00

With R175 million of Pietermaritzburg’s capital budget unspent three months before the financial year ends, Msunduzi Municipal executive committee (Exco) is not only unhappy with the situation, but frustrated that officials offer the same excuses as last year for their lack of progress.

These excuses include lack of technical staff and delays in the procurement process.

Pops Chetty (ANC) said that last year councillors heard the same problems dished up. "Clearly the system we are using is not right. We should go to other municipalities and see what they are doing."

Dolo Zondi (IFP) asked what had happened to Exco’s previous suggestions.

"We tried to help you unblock the system and suggested the decentralisation of the procurement process. Why was this not done …? Where is the problem and why are we back where we started?" he asked.

Strategic executive manager Zwe Hulane asked Exco for a resolution allowing for the outsourcing of technical skills. Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo asked that Hulane and the other senior managers provide a detailed report showing where the bottlenecks and other difficulties occur. That way Exco could take a resolution on the matter, she added.

An offshoot of the discussion was the issue of skills shortages. Exco was told that the Infrastructure, Services and Facilities unit (ISF) is in a critical situation, having lost key staff. Many of them were involved in projects and there is no one with the skills to take over. The water section also lost senior staffers in the last month.

Hlatshwayo told the head of ISF, Phil Mashoko, that she knows he prefers to have engineers in his core staff, but she said that given current market trends the municipality may need to consider hiring project managers for fixed terms or on a per-project basis.

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