Deputy Minister says Covid-19 has added to financial woes of municipalities
Johannesburg: Parks Tau, the Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance, has told the National Council of Provinces that Covid-19 has worsened the fiscal position of municipalities.
This comes after the Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, also warned of the deterioration of the finances of municipalities across the country.
In his latest report, Makwetu found that irregular expenditure has increased from R25 billion to R32bn.
Makwetu also said there was no internal control and lack of paper trail in some instances.
In his closing remarks in the local government week in the NCOP on Friday, Tau said municipalities were already in financial difficulty and Covid-19 has worsened their financial positions.
"The cumulative impact of poor financial planning on infrastructure assets and the rapid deterioration of critical infrastructure assets such as water, sanitation. electricity, roads and stormwaters are evident," said Tau.
"While asset maintenance and upgrades lag, paradoxically there is underspending on conditional grants compounded by inadequate and burdensome procurement systems."
"As if we thought things could get worse the coronavirus pandemic adds to our woes, in ways that have been articulated more eruditely by delegates and not worth belaboring.“
MECs have spoken this week about how the finances of municipalities were in a crisis.
MPs also raised concern about corruption and factional politics that leads to the collapse of municipalities.
Political infighting was also blamed for the use of section 139 of the Constitution to take over the running of municipalities.
Deputy Minister of Finance David Masondo earlier this week also told the NCOP that it was concerned about the underspending of R96bn in conditional grants.
However, Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the issue of underspending in the infrastructure grant was due to lack of expertise in some of the municipalities. | Political Bureau