DURBAN - The KwaDukuza Municipality has come under fire for failing to spend millions of rand meant for service delivery to benefit the community with houses, electricity and roads.

KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu recently tabled his mid-term report, which showed that the council had only spent 30% of its Budget this financial year.

Capital budgets are for key infrastructure, ranging from electricity projects to community halls.

It was reported recently that of the R20million earmarked for electrical upgrades, only R3.6m had been spent by December last year.

“This matter was recently raised by the auditor-general as a finding. It has been an ongoing problem for the past few years,” said DA caucus leader Madhun Sing.

He said a recent report by the auditor-general had found that the municipality had materially underspent on its capital budget.

“The main reason for this underspending was the delay in finalising the procurement process for capital projects.”

He said they had been told the problem was within the supply chain management (SCM).

“We believe that the accounting officer in charge of the municipality should take the lead in addressing this.

“If a community hall has been earmarked and we fail to build it because of the delays, than we have failed that community,” said Sing.

He said roads were in a poor state, with some having reached the end of their lifespan and needing to be resurfaced.

“The problem is caused by poor planning, some municipalities spend more than 70% of their capital budgets,” he said.

Ward 27 councillor Mbusiso Madlala said that since 2015 only one project, a community hall, had been completed in his ward.

“A project to tar the road has stalled. I even went to the mayor to address the matter,” he said. He added that the incompetence of officials was worsening the problem.

“Sometimes they cause delays by making basic mistakes when compiling the agenda. They sometime bring a line item with no figure, knowing well that the councillors will not approve it because it is incomplete.”

Mthembu said they had put in place measures to recover from the under-expenditure before the end of the financial year.

“We have put consequence management in place to deal with absenteeism, and we have to restructure our ‘wish list’ to make sure the projects we want to develop are achievable,” he said.