The former Tshwane ANC-led government only allocated 4% of its budget to preventative maintenance for water infrastructure, resulting in the new DA government inheriting a multibillion-rand backlog.
This was presented by MMC of finance Mare-Lise Fourie at the mayoral office in Centurion on Tuesday, where she presented the outcomes of the auditor-general’s report, which was recently tabled at the council sitting.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga added that “not even a cent” was budgeted last year for preventative maintenance, leaving the city to source close to R8 billion in funding.
“Water leakage remains one of our biggest challenges. There has been a lack of maintenance for years. Tshwane still has the old asbestos pipe networks that will take a number of years to redo. It will cost about R8 billion to get the system where it needs to be.”
Although complaints about burst water pipes are attended to, Msimanga said the city was in need of more plumbers and technicians to improve the turnaround time.
“We are sitting with billions in backlogs that need to be covered. Not only water infrastructure, but the electricity backlog is at about R10 billion. We are working hard on addressing those issues.”
The ANC caucus cheered in the council chambers when the auditor-general announced an unqualified audit for the 2015/16 financial year, rubbishing claims by Msimanga of a corrupt and bankrupt municipality.
But Fourie said that although all necessary financial statements were submitted, the audit showed that the former ANC administration had overspent by R2 billion.
“This is money not budgeted for. It means the budget was under-funded or they just didn’t care. All of this shows that the current finances have put a considerable strain on the city’s ability to function and provide the services our people need.”
She said that to increase the city’s revenue, debts needed to be collected, including an outstanding amount of R582 million from government departments. Businesses owe R1.6 billion and households R4.1 billion, she said.
“Of particular concern to me is the unauthorised expenditure of more than R2 billion identified by the auditor-general.”