Premier David Mabuza says internal political infighting is partly responsible for the poor performances of municipalities. He was speaking at a meeting with the AG Kimi Makwethu in White River on Wednesday, April 22, where a preliminary report on the audit outcomes for local municipalities was presented.
Mabuza said the outcomes were not encouraging, lacking visible progress in performance, and blamed municipal leaders’ focus on leadership battles instead of service delivery.
The AG emphasised that the root causes for poor audit outcomes were key positions not being filled, key officials lacking the appropriate competence, inadequate consequences for poor performance and transgressions, and a slow response to address all of the above. Mabuza described the preliminary report as demoralising.
“Instead of going forward, we are going backward. We have made no movement. As seasoned leaders, you are quite acquainted with these issues in your institutions, and as mayors, you are almost at the end of your term. Some of you could not even meet the required deadline.” He explained most municipalities lost focus in doing their work, as they were focused on politics.
The Makwethu also awarded Steve Tshwete Local Municipality and Ehlanzeni District Municipality with Municipal Financial Management Act trophies for achieving clean audits in 2013/14. The DA in Mpumalanga is also charging that this year’s financials, which end in June, are not looking good for municipalities.
Bosman Grobler, DA MPL, cites the second-quarter financial report for municipalities, which provides the status of in-year financial performance: “Eight of the 21 municipalities in Mpumalanga are failing to spend their 2015 capital budgets, compromising service delivery in the process. Some are failing to spend any capital budget at all.”
As of December 31, Pixley Ka Seme District had spent nothing of its R28.7 million budget for capital projects. Victor Khanye, Msukaligwa and Thembisile Hani had spent 3.3%, 5.2% and 6.5% of theirs, respectively.
Capital spending in Gert Sibande stood at 12% and in Lekwa at 15.6%. Ehlanzeni District had spent 17.35% of its R73.8-million budget and Umjindi 19.8% of its R58.6 million.
The DA has undertaken to submit questions in the legislature to determine how capital projects are being so neglected in these municipalities. “Capital projects amount to deliverable services, and without them, Mpumalanga will remain underdeveloped and unable to deliver services,” Grobler said.
He added capital spending for all the municipalities is at only 33%. “It is inexcusable that funds are being sent back to treasury while people are left without basic services.”
– Caxton News Service