More funds for the poor

2019-03-27 06:00

THE Assistance to the Poor Programme (ATTP) in the metro will receive much-needed funds after millions of rands were paid over by the National Treasury to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

The payment of the last equitable tranche (for the 2018/19 financial year) of R234 million was made to the municipality by the National Treasury on March 19.

According to municipal spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, this follows the delayed payment of an equitable share allocation that was supposed to be paid in December 2018 and ended up being paid in February 2019, based on a number of compliance issues that the City had to clarify with National Treasury.

The SA Constitution requires that national government makes allocations to municipalities in the form of equitable shares.

An equitable share is an unconditional grant, availed for various purposes to municipalities, key among them being subsidising the poor in terms of free basic services.

“We are pleased that the full allocation due to the city has now been transferred to us. Now it is all hands on deck,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Budget and Treasury, Councillor Mkhuseli Mtsila.

“This allocation is very important to the current administration, as it talks directly to the poorest of the poor.

“Our ATTP will now be able to touch many families, so they can keep the lights on and water coming out of their taps. This does not only talk to essential services; it also talks to the dignity of those families,” said Mtsila.

The equitable share is paid to municipalities in three tranche payments, namely in July, December and March of each year.

The fact that the city did not receive the second tranche in December 2018, as expected, had received much attention and publicity.

According to a media statement issued by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, the reason for the non-receipt of the tranche related to compliance issues relating to the submission of the required m-SCOA (municipal standard chart of accounts) and related documents, among others.

This was addressed through constructive engagements between the acting city manager, acting chief financial officer and National Treasury in January 2019.

According to the media statement, these engagements did not only serve as a platform for the city to give confidence to the National Treasury about the state of the institution’s financial administration, but it also assisted in building solid working relations between the two entities.

Acting Chief Financial Officer, Jackson Ngcelwane, said, “We can now confidently say that it is all systems go between us and the National Treasury. Good working relations between the two entities are critical for the acceleration of service delivery.

“Any delays in allocations negatively affect our planning and implementation. Going forward we will maintain these transparent and good working relations with National Treasury,” said Ngcelwane.

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