Delinquent government departments owe KZN’s cash-strapped municipalities almost R800 million

Issued by Francois Rodgers, MPL – Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature/DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance
05 Aug 2022 in Press Statements

A series of written parliamentary replies to questions posed by the DA has revealed that ANC-run KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) government departments owe municipalities in the province a staggering R792 million for basic services.

The figure relates to the period April 2021 to January 2022 and includes services such as water, electricity, sewage and refuse.

According to the replies (view here) the biggest culprit is KZN’s Education Department, with a monumental R468 million outstanding. Further Departments flagged for large outstanding amounts are;

– Public Works with R255 million outstanding

– Human Settlements with R55 million and

– Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) with R8 million outstanding.

The fact that a culture of non-payment stems directly from government itself is an indictment against KZN’s ANC political leadership. The question is – why is this provincial government not setting an example, particularly when it is only too quick to come down hard on everyone else for non-payment?

According to the replies, KZN’s worst affected municipalities include;

· EThekwini which is owed R573 million

· Msunduzi which is owed R86.9 million and

· Zululand Municipality which is owed R46.8 million

Of further concern to the DA is the alarming lack of adherence to the 30-day payment policy with Departments seemingly taking advantage of poorly-run municipalities already facing revenue collection challenges. KZN’s EDTEA Department alone has outstanding monies for as long as 240 days. This is unacceptable.

According to the replies;

• R288million outstanding is older than 60 days

• R362 million is older than 120 days and;

• R60.2million is outstanding for 150 days

That municipalities themselves are not enforcing government departments’ payments, thereby deterring revenue collection, is ultimately affecting service delivery. This is even more relevant when it comes to those municipalities under provincial administration which should have new strategies to enforce timely payments and to deal harshly with those who do not comply.

To compound the situation, there is currently no record of disciplinary action taken against errant Departments. This despite non-payments being an offence under the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and punishable by up to five years in jail.

The overall impact of this massive outstanding government department bill on KZN’s municipalities is catastrophic. Not only does it threaten their very survival, the effect on local economies and the development and lives of residents is also massive.

This again demonstrates the ANC’s attitude towards KZN and its people – it simply does not care about them or the future of our province. The ANC has shown time and again that it cannot ensure the basics of accountability and consequence management.

In 2024, the people of KZN will have the opportunity to vote for a party that puts residents’ needs first – a party that gets things done. That party is the DA.