Staff members wearing Personal protective equipment (PPE) at the Charlotte Maxeke hospital. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)
Staff members wearing Personal protective equipment (PPE) at the Charlotte Maxeke hospital. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Concerns over ‘irregular’ Covid-19 spending by some KZN municipalities as bill soars to R750m

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Oct 26, 2020

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Durban – KWAZULU-Natal municipalities spent R750 million on Covid-19-related activities, but the figure and spending patterns have sparked suspicion of irregularities.

A recent report by the Cooperative governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) on the matter showed the total expenditure reported by municipalities on September 11 was R749.5m, an increase from R720.2m, that was reported for the week ending September 4.

The report said out of the total reported R749.5m expenditure, the highest was from eThekwini Municipality.

The City’s expenditure of R475.1m constituted 63.3% of the total expenditure for the period. The total expenditure was funded from internal and grants funding.

Cogta committee members expressed concerns the spending patterns were suspicious and did not make sense.

Head of department Thando Tubane said the report was incomplete as the department was still going to do further investigation on the companies that received tenders.

The report found that in terms of other districts, the King Cetshwayo District spent R101.8m with uMhlathuze contributing R89.6m of the expenditure, which constituted 88% of the total expenditure for the district.

“The total expenditure for uMhlathuze Municipality is reported as unfunded and funded through grants funding and own revenue,” said the report.

The lowest spending districts reported were Harry Gwala and Amajuba, with R5.2m and R7.7m respectively, said the report.

Committee chairperson Sipho Nkosi called for full details on the Covid-19 spending.

ANC MPL Sifiso Sonjica said he was concerned with the spending by some municipalities.

“Just at first glance I already see some concerning spending patterns by some municipalities.

“There are figures that do not seem to make any sense. We will wait for the final report to get the full picture.There are municipalities that we need to zoom into because their figures are too high and do not make any sense,” he said.

Cogta said they had directed municipalities to table detailed reports on Covid-19 expenditure to council for adoption.

Daily News

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