The ANC in Limpopo has issued a stern warning to its members deployed to provincial departments, municipalities and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that they will be disciplined if they fail to spend their service delivery budgets and the unspent money will be forfeited to Treasury.
The provincial executive committee (PEC) resolved last week that the members deployed as MECs, mayors, CEOs of SOEs, heads of department and municipal managers would feel the wrath of the party if they failed to spend the allocated budgets when they had severe service delivery backlogs.
“The PEC reiterated the need for the comrades deployed in government to remain focused and double their efforts in delivering basic services to our people. To that effect, the ANC PEC will be assessing and monitoring the work of its deployees across the province from time to time,” the committee said.
The PEC resolved that there should be “consequence management” of deployees whose institutions returned unspent funds to the fiscus.
For now, the deployed members are safe, as the implementation of the resolution will only start at the end of the 2022/23 financial year – which is March next year for the provincial departments and June next year for municipalities.
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In the 2021/22 financial year, National Treasury allocated R68.8 billion to provincial governments, but the departments only spent 97.2% of the budget. Just over R2.1 billion had to be returned to Treasury.
This is the trend the PEC wants to buck.
Provincial ANC spokesperson Jimmy Machaka said the party wanted to see the expenditure of every cent allocated for service delivery for the people’s benefit.
This means that those responsible for the 2.8% underspending of the 2021/22 budget are off the hook.
According to the provincial treasury, all the departments, including the provincial legislature, underspent their budgets.
This underspending has been highlighted in the Auditor-General’s annual reports. National departments have also underspent their budgets.
- Education – R523.3 million (1.5%);
- Health – R570.5 million (2.4%);
- Social development – R72.4 million (3.1%);
- Premier’s office – R16 million (4%);
- Legislature – R45.1 million (10.5%);
- Agriculture – R98.7 million (6%);
- Treasury – R14 million (3.8%);
- Public works, roads and infrastructure – R226.1 million (5.1%);
- Economic development, environment and tourism – R8.4 million (0.5%);
- Transport and community safety – R40.7 million (1.7%);
- Cooperative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs – R474.1 million (20.1%); and
- Sport, arts and culture – R53.9 million (10.5%).
“We are always worried about the potholes on our roads, but money is never used and is returned to Treasury.
“The ANC is saying that this must end. If it is found that the cause of underspending is incompetence, a decision must be taken,” Machaka said.
He added that the disciplinary action would be determined by the amounts involved and the reasons for not spending the funds. Treasury spokesperson Thulani Twala said that municipal underspending in the 2021/22 financial year would only be known in November.