Johannesburg - The DA in the Emfuleni Local Municipality has slammed the municipality for ‘splurging’ more than R168 million on consultants.
The DA’s head of constituency in the local municipality, Kingsol Chabalala, said the cash-strapped municipality should have made better use of the money instead of spending it on consultants.
He said in-house personnel should have been used, as spending money on consultants had a negative impact on service delivery, which had completely collapsed in the area.
"Emfuleni has spent R168 109 431,10 on consultants in the past six financial years for upgrading the infrastructure," Chabalala said.
This was according to Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Mzikayifani Khumalo, in a written reply to the DA’s questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).
The MEC said that 24 consulting companies were appointed to construct several roads, rehabilitate stormwater drainages, and build bulk water supplies.
Chabalala commented: "It is concerning that all 55 projects are still at the design and supervision level. Emfuleni has spent R3 950 418,20 on Onboard Consulting Engineers for designing the Vanderbijipark Cemetery and R2 466 179,37 to upgrade the Nanescol Cemetery. R7 395 153,89 has been spent on Thellong Development Services to rehabilitate Evaton's multiple roads."
He said despite the money spent, no work had been done at the Vanderbijlpark Cemetery, and none of the Evaton roads had been rehabilitated. He added that most of the projects had either not started or the contractors had abandoned them, as had happened at the Nguna and Lake Side Road sites.
According to the DA, the explanation given by the MEC was that Emfuleni did not have the technical teams to handle the projects, hence the use of consultants.
"This is an excuse to loot from a municipality that is going through a financial crisis... For far too long, the DA has been demanding that Emfuleni refrain from using consultants that do not save money and do not enable the municipality to deliver services to its residents," Chabalala said.
He said the DA would continue to demand that Khumalo conduct a forensic audit of all the work done by the consultants to ascertain whether there was value for money.
"Furthermore, we demand that a skills audit be conducted to ensure that Emfuleni is capacitated with adequate skills to deliver services to its residents instead of relying on consultants to do the work," he said.