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MPs call on Umlalazi municipality to reprioritise funds to deal with floods

Members of Parliament during a sitting recently. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Members of Parliament during a sitting recently. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 27, 2022

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Cape Town - Members of the ad hoc committee on KwaZulu-Natal floods have called on municipalities to ramp up efforts to rebuild infrastructure damaged by the floods and provide much-needed social relief.

The committee was on Friday visiting Umlalazi Local Municipality, in Eshowe, where they met with the mayor and other senior officials, during their oversight visit to assess the extent of the damage.

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The committee has also alluded to the R1 billion that government has promised to affected municipalities for relief efforts.

Co-chairperson of the committee Cedric Frolick called on the Umlalazi Municipality to reprioritise funds to rebuild the area.

He said that if they need more money, they can advise the national and provincial governments.

Some members of the committee called on the municipality to provide tangible evidence how and where they will spend the money.

IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the main issue is that the money that was already the in coffers of the municipality must be used properly.

He warned that every cent counts and the municipality must account on where they have already used funds.

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They wanted to see if the money had reached the intended beneficiaries, said Hlengwa.

ANC MP Dikeledi Direko wanted a breakdown of companies that had already been awarded tenders to fix the municipality after the floods.

China Dodovu, of the ANC, said the report that had been provided by the municipality lacked details on the response measures after the floods.

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He also said that, if there was a disaster, the Municipal Finance Management Act allowed the municipality to shift funds. Dodovu also wanted to know how much of the existing budget of the municipality had been shifted to deal with the floods. He wanted to know how much the Department of Transport had contributed to rebuild the area.

Umlalazi mayor QT Xulu said they were making all efforts to ensure they rebuild the affected areas.

She also said they will heed the call by MPs to reprioritise their budget, although it was small.

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Chairperson of the municipal public accounts committee in Umlalazi Municipality Stan Locke said they want the government to build about two dams in the area, to alleviate the flooding that has occurred.

“Today, in the speech of the mayor, she said we only have a budget of R266 million of equitable share, a very small amount. If it wasn’t for the grant funding that we receive from different spheres of government, we would not be able to operate. Of R266m we have R130m that goes to the administration of this municipality. That’s almost 60% of the budget we have, and we still have to try and allocate to different things. The mayor earlier stated that we have a community support programme, a very small amount of R1.1m,” said Locke.

For disaster management, the municipality has a budget of R900 000, which was very small.

“We have a small amount in disaster management of R900 000, and you can imagine the R900 000 ... is just unacceptable,” said Locke.

He added that they do budget adjustments in January next year, and they will have to reprioritise the budget to meet these challenges.

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Political Bureau

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