Lindiwe Ngcobo and Nobuhle Mabika, nurses from eThekwini municipality's clinics, apply hand sanitiser to the hands of homeless people during a coronavirus screening drive. File picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)
Lindiwe Ngcobo and Nobuhle Mabika, nurses from eThekwini municipality's clinics, apply hand sanitiser to the hands of homeless people during a coronavirus screening drive. File picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

National Treasury interim Covid-19 expenditure report: Ethekwini among top spenders

By Lyse Comins Time of article published Jan 13, 2021

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal has spent R3.196 billion in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, mostly through its municipalities and government departments to fund infrastructure developments, according to an interim National Treasury report released to the province.

Provincial Treasury deputy director general Santanu Moodley presented an outline of the report to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) at an online provincial legislature meeting on Tuesday. The report highlighted the Covid-19 spending of 54 municipalities, government departments and state-owned entities since the start of the pandemic. It is mandatory in terms of National Treasury instruction note 11 of 20/21 for provinces to report Covid-19 expenditure to the National Treasury monthly.

Moodley said that according to the report, all 54 municipalities had submitted their Covid-19 reporting templates by November 6, but just 60% had complied with the requirement to list not only the sum spent but details of the line items procured. He said the expenses provided by municipalities had not yet been audited and that the National Treasury was still in the process of verifying the validity of the information.

“The National Treasury will publish a formal report in due course after a full verification of all expenditure,” Moodley said.

According to the interim report, government departments, of which the biggest spenders were the departments of health and education, spent R2 317 804 706, while municipalities spent R870 million and public entities spent R9 046 567, equating to a total provincial expenditure of R3 196 851 273 as at October 31 2020.

Moodley said eThekwini Municipality reported the highest municipal expenditure, totalling R468.1m, followed by King Cetshwayo District, which spent R109.7m, uMkhanyakude District Municipality, which spent R54.4m, and Msunduzí Local Municpality and Zululand District Municipality, which reported expenditure of R24m and R23.5m respectively.

“In total, 10 municipalities account for the bulk of the Covid-19 expenditure reported in the province (for municipalities) which totals R765.5m and constitutes 87% of the total expenditure reported,” he said.

Government departments and SOEs spent mostly on infrastructure at R1.242bn; hand sanitisers and disinfectants at R253m; three-layer fabric cloth masks at R147m; digital thermometers at R93m and surgical masks for health-care workers at R86m.

Some of the infrastructure developments listed included alterations to the value of R232m at Clairwood Hospital; R96.9m at GJ Crookes Hospital in Scottburgh and R83m at the Richmond Chest Hospital.

KZN was among the top three big provincial spenders, second only to Gauteng and followed by the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape as the third and fourth major spenders. On a municipal level, eThekwini Municipality was in third place and spent less than only Cape Town and Tshwane municipalities.

KZN entities that spent the most were Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife; Trade and Investment KZN; KZN Sharks Board; KZN Liquor Authority; Legislature; KZN Gaming and Betting Board followed by the KZN Agri-business Development Agency and the KZN Film Commission.

DA MLP Francois Rodgers told the committee that Scopa should be supplied with a list municipalities and entities that had not complied with the reporting specifications.

“Although there is some good information it seems to be little more than a tick-box exercise. I have a bit of a concern … we have picked up that certain departments and entities have supplied incorrect information and have used the incorrect format to supply information. Why are we not getting a list of those that are not compliant?”

ANC MPL and Scopa chairperson Maggie Govender agreed that a list of non-compliant entities should be provided.

The Mercury

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