Leader of the opposition in the city council, Xolani Sotashe, said the city had asked national Treasury to give it the go-ahead to “roll over” more than R400million as part of its budget adjustment.
The City’s operating budget for 2019/20 was set at R41.78billion and the capital budget at R8.39bn.
“This is an indication of the City’s inability to spend its budget. Service delivery and safety of our communities is being compromised. Many communities need adequate houses, clean running water, provision of sanitation facilities and a safe environment,” he said.
More than R150m of the money that the City wanted to roll over was allocated for Human Settlements, while about R275m was for Water and Sanitation.
Sotashe accused the City of not fixing roads, lighting and overcrowding in informal settlements.
He said the adjustment budget was a ploy to “cover up” non-delivery and was the basis for fiscal dumping.
But the City denied the accusations and said there was an added advantage of not spending all the monies it had budgeted.
There were also savings in not having to pay interest on funds not borrowed which too was part of the water and sanitation budget.
The amount of underspend in the Water Services Department, it said, pertained largely to the New Water Programme which was aimed at delivering additional supply during the drought emergency.
“Through strong actions, the City managed to avoid this natural crisis,” said acting Mayoral Committee member for Finance, Felicity Purchase..
“Thus, money not spent is a saving and this is a good thing. All work continues.”
She said some of the reasons for underspending on Human Settlements included challenges with delays as a result of community dynamics and land invasions and the effect that this had on planned projects.