‘DA vindicated by Treasury not supporting 2019/20 Ugu budget’

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) feels vindicated in withholding its support of the 2019/20 Ugu Budget as pushed through in May this year. This because it was an unfunded budget and irregular. It also failed to adequately see to the needs of the communities of the South Coast in ending the Water Crisis. National Treasury has returned Ugu’s budget as grossly irregular, unfunded and in violation of the Municipal Finance Management Act. Also, Treasury had to enforce Section 216(2) of the South African Constitution to stop transfer to the Ugu District Municipality due to violations of “generally recognised accounting practice, uniform expenditure classifications and/or uniform treasury norms and standards”.
The rejection of Ugu’s budget demonstrates the degree of incompetence that prevails within the political leadership and administration of the Ugu District Municipality. It further justifies the long-standing appeal made by the DA for Ugu to be placed under Section 139 administration. To put the matter in simple terms, it means that the Ugu leadership were managing its affairs without the financial resources to do so, and had created a budget that deliberately misled the public to believe it was a viable plan. The adoption of such a flawed document speaks to an ANC-led council that fails to listen to the inputs of the DA and just uses its majority to push through irregular budgets.
The revised budget is no better and is again irresponsible in its intent. The DA raised the following issues:

Nothing was done to cut the wage bill.

A reduction of R30m on electricity and water bulk purchases.

A reduction of R5m on repairs and maintenance.

Failure of MM to effectively collect what is due to Ugu.

A broken billing system

Failure on by Accounting Officer to implement consequence management.

In summary, Ugu is setting itself for failure as the majority of these reductions are not achievable.

When revenues should have been applied to maintenance, the political leadership saw fit to direct funds to popular short term patronage schemes. Projects that are not aligned to the core functions of Water and Sanitation, such as sports facilities, taxi ranks and fresh produce markets, took precedence over the life-sustaining service of water supply, and the critical health factor of sewage management.
The Democratic Alliance made it clear that the revised budget will not improve the provision of water to all communities. This strengthens the DA’s call that Ugu is immediately placed under Section 139 administration with a capable administrator appointed to handle both service delivery and financial matters. The DA continues its call that all bulk water services be transferred to the Umgeni Water’s custodianship.

Rishigen Viranna
DA Ugu Constituency Head

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