DA-led coalition slammed over Treasury’s intention to cancel R629m grants

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink. Picture: File

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink. Picture: File

Published Feb 16, 2024


Opposition parties in the City of Tshwane have slammed the DA-led coalition over reports that the National Treasury intended to cancel at least R629 million, which is part of conditional grants allocated to the municipality for 2023/24 financial year.

This was after it emerged this week that the National Treasury penned a letter to municipal manager Johann Mettler, expressing the intention to withdraw millions of rands from the City owing to “underperformance of grant allocations”.

The EFF blamed both the DA and ActionSA for financial mismanagement, saying it prompted the National Treasury to take drastic measures of withholding various grants from the municipality.

Regional party leader, Obakeng Ramabodu said: “The cessation of these financial resources suggests that Tshwane will face a significant shortfall in urban development funding. This will adversely affect transportation subsidies, placing a heavy burden on the city's inhabitants.”

He said Treasury’s looming action meant the City would miss the opportunity to enhance over 200 informal settlements and better the lives of residents.

He took a swipe at the coalition, saying it appeared to lack an understanding of the critical role national grants play in advancing the welfare of city dwellers.

“These grants are vital for municipalities to execute projects that would be unfeasible with their own budget limitations,” he said.

On the other hand, the ANC regional secretary George Matjila said the National Treasury’s intention to cancel grants was “due to the inability and incapacity of the City to spend the grant funding”. “What we are talking about here is R2.6 billion worth of grant funding meant to deliver services to the residents of the City of Tshwane being taken away and yet the City is known for being insolvent and cash strapped,” he said.

He accused Mayor Cilliers Brink of trying to paper over capacity challenges faced by the City to spend its grant funding.

“Already the signs were there that spending was at an all time low. Brink must not try to deny the facts and pull wool over the eyes of the residents of the City of Tshwane by claiming that the move by the National Treasury is a surprise,” Matjila said.

DA Tshwane caucus spokesperson Kwena Moloto said it was “a blatant lie” by the ANC to suggest that R2.6bn would be returned to the national government.

He said “the misleading statements” made by the ANC and Premier Panyaza Lesufi were “driven by a desperate attempt to mislead the public in the lead-up to the 2024 elections”.

Moloto said: “The amount in question equates to closer to R650m. Moreover, the City Manager has until next week to respond to the National Treasury in order to detail the planned measures to ensure the full utilisation of the grant funding before the financial year concludes in June 2024. These measures have been adopted by the council.”

He said Tshwane was not the only municipality that received such a letter from the Treasury.

“In Gauteng, the Cities of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni both received similar letters,” he said.

Pretoria News

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