Durban - Msunduzi Municipality is planning to spend millions of rands outsourcing some of its functions in contravention of the National Treasury recommendation to cut back on outsourcing.

The 2018/19 budget tabled last week showed that the municipality was planning to increase its contracted services budget by R68 million.

DA caucus leader Jerome Majola said over the past three financial years the budget for contracted services had been ballooning.

He said for the 2018-19 financial year, its budget increased from R537.1m to R605m - R68m more.

In the 2015-16 financial year, Majola said, about R462m had been budgeted and in 2016-17 financial year it stood at R556.4m.

“There is a circular released by the National Treasury last year which speaks to the containment of costs. It discourages the use of contracted services and consultants. And it encourages the municipality to use its own staff.

“It is concerning that despite this circular, we (Msunduzi municipality) continue to rely so heavily on contracted services in violation of that circular.

“We all know that in the local government environment most of the corruption happens in the supply chain and in contracted services. That is where people give work that benefits each other.”

Majola said it seemed the municipality was deliberately not filling vacant posts so it could use this as an excuse to use contracted services.

“There are thousands of posts vacant, almost every business unit is under-performing and the key reason is the staff shortages. The national treasury guidelines state that we must spend about 30% of our budget on salaries. Msunduzi is sitting at around 25%, we have not reached the ceiling so there is no excuse not to fill all the vacant posts,” he said.

Majola said they were concerned that senior politicians in the council continued to fail to adhere to directives given. “There was a directive by Cogta that each of the political principals should have two bodyguards per shift. I know one who had close to seven guards for each shift, day and night.”

The Mercury