Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Budget underspend laid bare

By SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI Time of article published Nov 15, 2019

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Johannesburg - MPs want to name and shame the provinces and municipalities that are underspending on their conditional grants and budgets allocated by the National Treasury.

This followed the presentation by the National Treasury to MPs on Thursday on how some provinces and municipalities shift funds for certain projects to other functions.

In some cases, provinces would be given money to appoint doctors and nurses, but they would appoint clerks and other administrative staff.

In other instances, municipalities would use the money for infrastructure to pay salaries for its workers.

A few months ago, the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said that 30 municipalities had failed to pay the salaries of its members for several months.

Dikeledi Mahlangu, chairperson of the select committee on appropriations in the National Council of Provinces, said action must be taken against those who underspend on their budgets and grants.

“It is frustrating when a municipality is taking the municipal infrastructure grant to pay salaries. You were given resources to spend on the departments and those commitments were made to the public. The only thing we are lacking is consequence management,” said Mahlangu.

Members of the standing committee on appropriations in the National Assembly and select committee on appropriations in the NCOP said it was time to name and shame provinces and municipalities who underspend.

They said this cannot be allowed to continue as underspending impacts on service delivery.

Deputy director-general for Intergovernmental Relations at National Treasury Malijeng Ngqaleni said some of the funds would be shifted from some projects in provinces and municipalities because of underspending.

The ANC’s Masarona Mathafa said they wanted the Treasury to give them a breakdown of provinces and municipalities so that they will deal with the problem.

He said he was concerned about the reduction of R289 million on the National Health Insurance and the impact this would have on the rollout of the programme.

EFF’s Rosina Komane said the presentation spoke of fruitless and wasteful expenditure but there was no action taken against those responsible.

She said in municipalities some of the employees were not paid for months.

She said the situation cannot be allowed to continue.

Manzoor Shaik Emam of the National Freedom Party also called on Treasury to name and shame provinces who were under-spending.

He said they need the names of the provinces so that they can attend to the problem.

Political Bureau

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