The embattled Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has hit back at National Treasury after it threatened to withdraw grant funds from the municipality for allegedly not complying with regulations.
The municipality has asked Treasury to continue to allow government money to flow into its coffers, claiming it had sorted out its governance issues.
Treasury last week cracked the whip, saying the municipality had failed to pass a medium-term budget, and had yet to elect a permanent mayor in more than six months – as was required by the Municipal Finance Management Act.
It also claimed the appointment of acting city manager Mvuleni Mapu was irregular and unlawful due to non-compliance.
A grant of R800 million was therefore in jeopardy.
In a letter addressed to Treasury on Wednesday, signed by Mapu, the municipality claimed that it had approved its Integrated Development Planning (IDP) and budget.
The municipality claimed it approved the IDP and budget during a special council meeting held on 15 and 29 June.
Even if council had not approved both its IDP and budget on or before the prescribed time, it would be punitive, drastic and unjustified for the department to withdraw funding based on lateness.
The municipality said it accepted and complied with Treasury’s advice.
“There are no material breaches, statutory obligations by the municipality and therefore, withdrawing funding has no justification, but would rather amount to interference,” the municipality said.
“Should the allegations of a reflection of weak governance be based on an error of judgement by your office, it should then be accepted that such allegations should not stand as per the response provided,” the municipality charged.
It disputed accusations of political and administrative instability due to non-sitting of council meetings.
“The absence of the executive mayor cannot amount to poor governance and instability in the administration of the municipality as you alleged.
“We have noted a consistent harassment, intimidation and impediment [of] our municipality by National Treasury. We know the difference between intervention and interference. We are convinced that the conduct of the department is a continuous attempt to interfere with the domestic matter of the municipality,” said the municipality.
The DA meanwhile said it intends challenging the council’s passing of the budget, alleging that the budget and Mapu’s appointment on 29 June were pushed through under questionable circumstances.