Limpopo municipality likely to return unused R180m, but residents still without water

Mogotji said in an effort to stop more money being returned to Treasury in the future, consequence management must be applied.

The Sekhukhune district municipality in Limpopo is likely to return more than R180 million of unspent money to the provincial Treasury while residents, especially in far-flung rural villages, continue to compete
with animals for dirty water in springs, fountains and rivers.

It is understood the district will return R50 million of the municipal infrastructure grant, R22 million of the water and sanitation infrastructure grant and R113 million of the regional bulk infrastructure grant.

Last week, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana published a Gazette in terms of the Division of Revenue Act, which provides information regarding the adjustment of allocations to municipalities in the 2021-22 financial year.

The purpose, he said, was to avoid transferring more funds to municipalities that have unspent transferred funds. The minister said this was aimed at avoiding fiscal dumping and to address the possibilities of funds being misused in the year.

Godongwana said this did not imply that projects should stop, rather that municipalities should accelerate their committed projects. He said only projects that were not ready for implementation in the current year would be affected.

This sparked more brouhaha between the ANC and opposition parties in the Sekhukhune district municipality, which has to return millions of unspent money to the provincial Treasury this week.

“We are left with only three days for the municipality to become poorer. That’s not looking good for the region as there is no guarantee that the remaining budget will be spent by the end of the financial year,” said councillor Seun Mogotji of the Bolsheviks political party on Monday.

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According to the party, there is one person responsible for the district’s loss of money.

“It is ironic that when all this happens, the culprit responsible for the loss of the money keeps her job.

“In a normal society the accounting officer, the municipal manager, would have been removed from her position as she has dismally failed to execute her duties. The problem with the municipal manager is that she is too immersed in party politics and ANC factional battles,” he said.

Mogotji said in an effort to stop more money being returned to Treasury in the future, consequence management must be applied.

“The municipal manager and her team must just go. We want her gone today and not tomorrow, otherwise, service delivery will remain a pipe dream in our communities,” added Mogotji.

Moloko Moloto, municipality spokesperson, said there was no definitive decision on the matter as yet.

“The municipality is still in talks with the provincial Treasury, together with the department of cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs regarding this matter.

“But one of the commitments by the executive mayor, Julia Lata Mathebe is that in addition to prioritising the filling of critical vacancies to capacitate the infrastructure and water services department, the municipality is working tirelessly on its planning and implementation approaches to reposition itself as a leader in the provision of basic services.”

By the time of going to print, Moloto had not responded regarding what action the council would take against the accounting officer for returning millions of unspent money to Treasury.


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