Treasury slashes R346 million from Tshwane’s conditional grants

The Tshwane council sitting on Thursday during which the proposed supplementary adjusted budget 2023/24 was considered. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

The Tshwane council sitting on Thursday during which the proposed supplementary adjusted budget 2023/24 was considered. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 28, 2024


The National Treasury has cut back on a whopping R5 billion conditional grants allocated to the City of Tshwane by R346 million due to underspending of budget recorded by the municipality.

This is contained in a council report tabled during Thursday's ordinary council meeting at Tshwane House.

The report was tabled after the council approved the adjustments to the Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework for the 2023/24 financial year on February 29 this year.

The report essentially altered the budget allocation in respect of some of the transfers and grants to the municipality.

“The total adjusted operating transfers and grants amounts to R5bn and the total capital transfers and grants amounts to R1.8bn, reflecting a decrease of R346m because of fiscal reduction implemented by the National Treasury,” the report said.

The opposition parties in council took potshots at the multiparty coalition government under the DA and ActionSA for not spending funds destined for capital projects.

They criticised the coalition for risking losing more millions of rand of unspent conditional grants to the Treasury after it failed to spend a huge chunk of its allocations by March this year.

ANC councillor Floyd Thema said the public transport network grant to the City was adjusted to R567.8m, but an amount of R261.7m remained unspent.

He said the amount was mainly allocated to bus rapid transport (BRT), adding that the project to expand BRT to Mamelodi could turn out to be a pipe dream.

Of the R47m allocated to the City for programme preparation support grant only R5.3m was spent.

Thema lamented the fact that the City only spent R8m of a staggering R132.2m allocated for neighbourhood development partnership grant.

He said the grant in question might help communities with employment created to safeguard their neighbourhoods.

Disappointingly, he said, not even half of the R26.7m meant for public health was spent.

Mncedi Ndzwanana, City of Tshwane Speaker of Council, presiding over the ordinary sitting yesterday. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Thema said: “Community libraries and this is where the DA and ActionSA should be shining, yet they are failing to provide a capacity and actually also to assist in libraries in township areas with resources especially whether with books, computers, wi-fi and printing machines.”

Of the City’s adjusted R949m for urban settlement and human grants subsidies there was almost R600m not spent.

The grant for upgrading informal settlement saw the City spending R149.4m from allocation of R532m.

He lashed out at the current administration, saying it was not serious about spending public funds on service delivery.

“The City of Tshwane is at risk of losing its conditional grants due to underspending. The unspent grants are often due to issues like unrealistic budgeting,” Thema said.

EFF councillor Trevor Moloisane said his party was greatly dismayed by the underutilisation of funds in the municipality.

“This relentless underspending has led to catastrophic consequences including the National Treasury decision to slash R346m and withhold an additional R70m from our budget,” he said.

He said the underspending culture was irrefutable evidence that “the DA-ActionSA coalition is grossly incompetent and unfit to govern, showing a blatant disregard for effective service delivery in Tshwane”.

“The Gauteng government allocated an equitable share grant for HIV/Aids programme amounting to R26.m and yet a paltry R6.2m has been utilised,” he said.

The Human Settlements Development settlement grant of R11m for the completion of Olievenhoutbosch Extension 60 project has seen the utilisation of just R1m.

Moloisane said: “The informal settlement upgrading partnership grant received R83m and yet R26m has been spent during the period.”

Tshwane executive mayor Cilliers Brink conceded that a lot of criticisms on the City’s underspending have merits.

“The numbers are the numbers and as I have said in this council before and other MMCs have said we have to improve our performance. It is true for this City and many others. It is clear that the National Treasury has now taken the approach that if you don’t spend your money by the midyear you are at great risk and far greater than the previous times of forfeiting that money,” he said.

He, however, said many of the reasons for underspending in the past are now eliminated.

He cited the inclusion of the presence of the permanent senior management and the establishment of a structure chaired by deputy mayor Nasiphi Moya to look at capital projects as among initiatives for dealing with underspending.

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