The department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) has tabled a R107 billion adjustments budget to aid government’s fight against Covid-19.
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivered her adjustment budget speech during a virtual debate in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday.
On top of the R107-billion adjusted budget, Dlamini-Zuma said R544 million was also approved by National Treasury for “labour-intensive infrastructure programmes”.
“With Covid-19, we can no longer hide or ignore the conditions our people live and work in. They live in hunger, poverty, unemployment and without adequate water, sanitation, shelter, technology and infrastructure. This has necessitated government to work in an integrated, agile, responsive, and faster manner.
“Our plans also seek to respond to the high unemployment and the need for infrastructure, particularly in rural areas and the townships,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in April funding of R20 billion for municipalities to provide emergency water supply, increase sanitisation of public transport and facilities, and provide food and shelter for the homeless.
Deputy Minister Parks Tau said R11 billion had been allocated to local government in equitable shares.
Tau said the remaining R9.4 billion would be spent on municipal infrastructure, public transport networks, regional bulk infrastructure, urban settlement development and water services.
He added the additional funding of R20.4 billion available to municipalities had been provisioned through the existing budget.
“While our efforts are to control and flatten the curve, we have to support municipal economic recovery and resilience in the medium to long-term. Therefore, we have undergone an intensive review of our strategic plan and annual performance plan. Our own programmes and projects are being refocused to ensure an effective municipal-wide recovery,” Tau said.
Ramaphosa announced a government-wide allocation of R19.6 million to strengthen community mobilisation responses to Covid-19.
He also emphasised the challenges within local government, saying there were 44 municipalities currently under administration.
This was an increase of four from last year.
“The governance challenges include poorly capacitated provincial Cogta offices. However, we must acknowledge joint responsibility for restoring good leadership in municipalities. Current interventions through Section 139s to deal with root causes presents limitations,” he said.
ANC MP Thamsanqa Dodovu said action needed to be taken against errant municipal officials.
“We need accountable municipal officials and, now more than ever, provinces should support municipalities. We need to put a stop to wasteful and fruitless expenditure,” he said.
DA MP Carin Visser said: “Cogta is in a big mess, they cannot implement what they plan. Finish and klaar”.