The Democratic Alliance (DA) in UMgungundlovu District Municipality has written to the Mayor, Cllr Thobekile Maphumulo to request that the District’s budget is sent to the relevant committees before it is approved by the full Council as the deadline is the end of May.
This follows the District’s irrational decision to pass the budget without following correct protocols and allowing for consultations with relevant stakeholders.
Councillors were also not given enough time to have input and have their submissions considered. Further to this, the budget was not presented to the Budget Steering Committee, Finance Committee and Executive Committee. These three committees assist the Full Council with the budget processes.
The municipality receives 70% of its money, about R771 million from both the Provincial and National government whereas 30%, about R347 million, is money that the municipality can generate for itself and from rates collections.
The concern is that the municipality is targeting to collect R138 million, or 40% of R347 million as the anticipated revenue, which is way less than what the municipality could collect if we had a working strategy for collections.
The DA has been consistently making suggestions to Council on how they can improve rates collections but have been given the cold shoulder.
Instead, they have decided on tariff increases of between 4.5% – 10% – this while residents are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The DA has rejected this increase as we believe it is unfair to already burdened residents.
Core functions like Disaster Management and Emergency Services Unit are still under-budgeted.
Millions of rands are set aside for security but Councillors are not furnished with enough information on the reasons for such high figures.
Most of all of these concerns would’ve been addressed if the budget went to relevant Committees before being brought to the Council.
It is for this reason that we are calling on the budget to be revised. We have given the Mayor until Monday, 18 May 2020 to respond, failing which we will be taking up the matter with the MEC of Finance, Mr Ravi Pillay to reject the 2020/21 Budget as due process was not followed.