East Cape Government Owes Millions to Municipalities

www.MyPE.co.za:
Municipalities are owed at least R136 million by provincial
departments. If immediate payment is not made this will cause
further cutting back of municipal services.

In response to a parliamentary question from me to the MEC for Local
Government of 11 May 2010 the full amount owed to municipalities
is

R136,760 million. However, there is a discrepancy, as the
attached schedule to the answer from the MEC indicates that an amount of

R137,188 million is owed, with Education owing R40,013 million, Public
Works R56, 817 million and Health R28,
231 million being the main culprits.

The interest owed as a result of this debt amounts to R6, 826
million- clearly a case of fruitless and wasteful expenditure!

This non-payment can cause repeated over expenditure of departmental
budgets. With local government in a state of dysfunctional
collapse in this ANC lead province, every effort to assist
municipalities with greater funding and capacity remains a
priority. This money could be used to build more clinics,
supply better roads, build and fix leaking pipes and improve sewerage
services to many communities.
Thus the tardy attitude by provincial departments to not pay over these
monies causes even greater hardship to already financially cash
strapped municipalities in the province.

Despite this and in response to a further question posed regarding
liability for the wasteful expenditure, the answer received from the
MEC was that “it is incumbent upon the affected department to institute
disciplinary proceeding against the officials responsible for causing
the delay in payment”.

Quite clearly there is no plan to institute disciplinary action against
errant officials in this regard.

On 23 March 2010 I put a motion to the Legislature asking for all
outstanding monies owed by provincial departments to be paid as soon as
possible.

Despite undertakings in reply to the motion from the MEC that various
processes are in place to recoup this astronomical amount of money
owed, the current non collection and slow payment of this money further
undermines future financial spending for service delivery by these
municipalities.

The lack of political will to collect this huge debt going back as far
as 2009 shows the incapacity by this provincial government to lead the
province and to govern effectively and undertake basic functions like
paying accounts owed to municipalities.

As part of the Democratic Alliance Agenda for Accountability, I have
written to the Premier seeking answers from her as to when all the
outstanding money due to municipalities will be settled.

Dacre Haddon MPL, Bhisho.

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