DA calls for municipalities to submit Covid-19 expenditure plans before allowed to access grants

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DA STATEMENT ON COVID-19 EMERGENCY PLANS ON THURSDAY EVENING:
DA calls for municipalities to submit Covid-19 Emergency Plans before accessing funding from the R20 billion Covid-19 Municipal Fund by Haniff Hoosen MP – DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Date.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to use her presentation tomorrow, in the National Coronavirus Command Council’s response to the President’s address, to announce that, for municipalities to access the R20 billion fund set aside to assist municipalities response to Covid-19, they must : submit costed Covid-19 Expenditure Plans before they can access grants from the fund; and adhere to strict expenditure guidelines that CoGTA should develop and publicly make available.
The DA has taken this initiative because there are legitimate concerns that, with the dysfunction and corruption in most municipalities, the R20 billion fund could become yet another blank cheque for looting by corrupt elements. We therefore also call on the Auditor-General to audit the full expenditure of the additional funds, R20 billion, given to municipalities so that there is full and proper accountability.
Taking a firm stand on the disbursement of these funds has become even more urgent in view of the relaxation of Public Finance Management Act and Municipal Management Act regulations by the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, in response to the declaration of the State of Disaster. Relaxation of municipal finance management regulations could yet turn out to be the loophole that will lead to the abuse of the R20 billion fund.
It has become necessary to take precautionary measures on the use of the Fund because of the ANC’s willingness, at local government level, to hijack economic relief interventions for its own political goals. Over the past few days, disturbing stories have emerged chronicling how food relief packages have been plundered and diverted away from their intended beneficiaries.
If corrupt politicians are willing to take food away from the mouths of hungry South Africans, nothing will stop them from diverting service delivery funding, from the R20 billion fund, for their own personal use.
We simply cannot allow this to happen.
Minister Dlamini Zuma has an obligation to ensure that adequate oversight mechanisms are put in place to protect the integrity of the R20 billion fund and its use for the provision of services to residents.
Haniff Hoosen MP
DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

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