Councils’ animal pounds setback

2012-10-03 00:00

THE Democratic Alliance believes several KwaZulu-Natal municipalities may forfeit their R1 million grant funding to build animal pounds because they have missed a deadline set by provincial government by two months.

The party said the recall of the funds should “not be an option”.

All 12 municipalities failed to meet the deadline of July 13 to build the animal pounds, which are to be used to keep cattle recovered from stock theft and stray animals such as dogs and goats.

The municipalities granted the funding were Um­zimkhulu, Umdoni, Greater Kokstad, Okhahlamba, Endumeni, Newcastle, Jozini, uPhongolo, Umlalazi, KwaSani, Mkhambathini and Umzumbe.

A report tabled by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in September said the challenge lay within the municipalities.

The report recommended that all grant funding be withdrawn in terms of treasury regulations.

It also said the municipalities had missed the initial deadline, although a number of them had since started building pounds.

Removing the funding would unfairly prejudice such councils, it added. In the case of KwaSani, the pound would be used to assist the SAPS stock theft unit. The only council to return its funding has been Umzumbe.

The core problem in rolling out the construction of the pounds is that a number of municipalities don’t have “sufficient technical capacity or expertise” because critical posts such as technical managers had been vacant for several months, said the report.

It indicated that changes in the councils and management had “also negatively impacted on the project progress”.

It also cited uPhongolo Municipality’s difficulty in acquiring land.

In a strongly worded statement, DA KZN spokesperson George Mari said the underlying problem appeared to be “a lack of urgency”.

The party called on the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, to to ensure that municipalities were given the necessary capacity and technical skills to build the pounds.

Stray animals posed a major threat to motorists.

“In suburban areas, wandering cattle are becoming a bigger and bigger problem.

“We need the pounds in order to remove the cattle and hold the owners accountable,” said Mari.

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