UITENHAGE SPCA’s financial situation has not improved despite the new 12-month contract lease extension that was signed with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality at the beginning of this year.SPCA district chair Deirdre Swift said this is due to the fact that the metro had been delinquent in making payments which previously amounted to approximately R130 000.The new 12-month contract lease extension, which was reported in the UD Express in January, meant that it is legally possible for the municipality to pay the SPCA for services rendered and that its operations can continue unhindered.According to Swift, despite being paid for the first time in May since the establishment of the new lease extension, the municipality did not pay them in full which resulted in the SPCA battling to pay their monthly bills, employees’ salaries and commodities.The municipality made payments in June, July and partial payment in August but that still did not amount to the full balance. After the August payment they only received payment again a few weeks ago.“There is no urgency from their side to pay us and that is just disrespectful. We have a backlog of payments and are struggling to pay our bills each month. “We are in arrears with all our bills and our debt is just building up. We don’t know how long our creditors will put up with us,” Swift said.The Uitenhage SPCA, which was established 103 years ago, has 14 employees, three of which manage municipal pound activities and therefore the municipality is responsible for the payment of their salaries.“We cannot afford to lose skilled employees trained at our cost. Owing to the size of our operation we are already thinly stretched. We need all our employees,” she said.The animal shelter, which is the only animal welfare service in the Uitenhage and Despatch area, currently houses 140 dogs and 60 cats at the facility.Swift said, they survive on the generous donations made by the public and businesses in the community and surrounding areas.“Currently money that is donated is being used to subsidize the payment of municipal bills and the salaries of the employees and this is unacceptable,” said Swift.Swift said there would be a great void in the community if the SPCA were to shut down.“Despite the financial challenges we face, we are not even considering closing our doors. Animal welfare remains our priority and we shall persevere in our efforts to serve the animals in our community,” she said.Prior to the latest payment, municipal spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, said the payments for the SPCA are currently up to date. “In the past three months there were delays with the payments because the SPCA did not check the invoices submitted for payment thoroughly and so the accountants demoted the payments and the SPCA were requested to re-do the invoices, hence the delays in payments,” he said.Mniki further said the NMBM has fully adhered to the contract and service providers should check whether they are submitting valid invoices for payment to avoid delays.Swift’s response to Mniki’s comment was that “she respectfully understood his comments would be based on information supplied to him, but that sadly this information was not true or correct”.