Ratepayers - learn where your money goes!

2018-07-11 06:00

IN February this year, the Greytown Gazette reported that Umvoti Municipality had obtained an unqualified audit report for the 2016/17 year from the KZN Auditor General, this was despite irregular expenditure of R 40 million and wasteful expenditure of R 3 million — but, at that time, no details were given as to what had led to this irregular expenditure.

The AG pointed out that “required price quotations under R 200 000 were procured without obtaining price quotations and transactions over R 200 000 without inviting competitive bids as required in the act”.

Commenting on this, the AG said that “it was of concern that the accounting officer approved the deviations even though it was not impractical to invite competitive bids”.

At the council meeting held on June 28, purchases made by the municipality for various functions, activities, individuals etc. since 2015 were tabled — these transactions and payments make interesting reading for ratepayers.

The 2015 year seems to have been a bumper year for the purchase of "different" items, such as a R 51 375 leather couch, as well as a R 43 000 dining room suite, purchased for the mayor — presumably for his municipal house in Cooper Street which he, apparently, only inhabits very occasionally.

For many years, council has been considering establishing a waste fill site for Greytown, however the waste still gets transported to Pietermaritzburg.

In 2015, 10 payments were made to Mersey Trading CC for transportation totalling R 3 million — no time span was listed so it is not clear for what period of time — roll on the Greytown waste fill site!

A lunch for the councillors at one of their meetings in 2016 was billed at R 3 375, whilst a finger lunch for 22 people with drinks cost R 155 per person.

The 200 stakeholders at the 2017 Youth Day celebration did even better — their bill was R 38 000, which works out at R 190 per head. Interestingly, another 500 stakeholders for the same event were shortchanged — they were given a meal for just R 70 a head!

Still on that Youth Day function, R 110 000 was spent on artists to perform, R 85 000 on the guest speaker, another whopping R 135 000 on the hiring of a marquee and R 70 000 on the hire of a stage. The bulk of these transactions were for out of town suppliers.

Obviously, there are very good chairs at the municipality as one was repaired in 2015 for R 6 858.29.

One thing that comes over loud and clear in looking at the suppliers in this document — the majority are out of town concerns.

Even the mayor's vehicle, as reported earlier this year, was purchased for R 1 790 000 from Sqothu Enterprise in Gauteng (the same company that supplied the refuse bags) despite local motor companies offering the vehicle at R 1 5550 326.28 and R 1 119 462.37. All tenders, quotations and bids to award can be viewed on the Umvoti Municipality website.

At the meeting last week, council agreed to the purchase of a vehicle for the municipal manager's department — it will be interesting to see the quotations and bids to award on this vehicle!

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