Polokwane municipality fails to spend R57.4m meant for vital projects

The Citizen understands that the reasons for Treasury denying the rollovers entail issues of late appointment of contractors, among others.

In a city with the fastest growing economy in South Africa – boosting a population of nearly 500,000 people – provision for basic services such as water, sewer, electricity connection, road construction and human settlement is a must.

But it seems that this is not the case with the Polokwane municipality, the economic hub and the capital of Limpopo.

Clarion proof of this is that the council had failed to spend R57.4 million meant to assist in funding vital projects for the benefit of its own citizens. The municipality made an application to Treasury on 31
August, 2021, for unspent conditional grant rollover. The rollover application was for R76.5 million, of which only R19.5 million was approved and R57.4 million was denied.

The total funds that did not meet the requirements for a rollover, comprise the following: R4.6 million from the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG); R22.3 million from the Integrated Urban Development Grant; and R29.7 million from the Public Transport Network Grant.

The Citizen understands that the reasons for Treasury denying the rollovers entail issues of late appointment of contractors; and absence of documentary proof of commitment, such as appointment letters for service providers for projects.

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

According to the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), the criteria for the rollover of conditional grant funds required that the unspent funds must be allocated to identifiable projects and that there must be proof that contractors or service providers had been appointed for the delivery of the projects. This had to have transpired before 31 March, 2021.

“This means that projects that were earmarked under these grants will no longer proceed. It raises concerns about whether the municipality will be able to remedy the [service delivery] situation,” said DA councillor in the municipality Tiny Chidi on Tuesday.

Chidi said the DA was especially concerned about the R4.6 million of the WSIG that would now be lost while the municipality faced acute water challenges. She said the party will request the management plans in order to mitigate the denied rollover of funds.

She said that during the next Municipal Public Accounts Committee public hearing, the DA will try to ascertain whether the situation will impact on other projects and whether the municipality’s plans to address the water crisis will be affected.

“The DA believes the inability of the municipality to spend the R57.4 million allocated to help the people of Polokwane is an example of the ANC’s incompetence and failures,” Chidi said.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits