The Democratic Alliance (DA) in uMgungundlovu District Municipality has written to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, calling for this municipality to be placed under administration in terms of Section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
This call follows the uMgungundlovu Municipality passing an unrealistic budget that the DA voted against. Even with the adjusted budget, as instructed by the National Treasury, it won’t be long until the municipality is declared bankrupt. This budget adjustment saw a cut of just over R100 million from the municipality’s initial budget.
The R100 million cut has a direct and negative impact on the services that this municipality provides to residents.
We are in full support of the revision of the budget, however we are unhappy with how the budget has been revised. We had initially requested that this adjustment does not happen as per the details provided to us for the following reasons:
- Core functions are being neglected (Disaster management Unit and Meter readings);
- The collection rate is still poor and the debt book keeps escalating;
- No political will to collect revenue equitable throughout the District; and
- The presented adjustment budget is not realistic since it is based on unrealistic projections.
The municipality’s failure and incapability to come up with an aggressive revenue collection approach remain at the core of its problems.
We had budgeted about R337 million on water collection for this financial year and yet our collections are nowhere near this amount.
For the already low amount allocated to special programs which, among other things, are designed to ensure economic participation and community development, the budget has had a cut of 50% leaving it with only R1.5 million. Security services, mostly for the protection of government officials, remain at a whopping R13.8 million.
With the current poor administration and the pace that this municipality is going, we are heading for bankruptcy. This is why we have called for intervention from the provincial government regarding the management of this municipality which continues to make ignorant and self-centered decisions at taxpayers’ cost.