Finance MEC unhappy with Umvoti Municipality

IN January this year Umvoti Municipality received an unqualified audit from the Auditor General for 2016/17 financial year despite the fact that there had been R40 million irregular expenditure and wasteful expenditure of R3 million. However the Provincial Treasurer has not been so kind and forgiving to Umvoti Municipality for its 2018/19 budget stating thatin the current form ,Provincial Treasury does not support the Approved (by Umvoti Council) 2018/19 budget of the municipality.

In the report KZN MEC for Finance ,Ms B.M Scott states: “It is noted that the Municipality had budgeted for a deficit of R36.9million in the 2018/19 approved budget; the municipality did not include a plan as to how it intends to eventually budget for a balanced budget in the future years”

Of considerable concern is that Umvoti Municipality ‘s employee related costs and councillors remuneration as a percentage of the total operating expenditure is 42.6% -this is above the norm of 25 to 40 % outlined in MFMA circular 71. The amount budgeted is :R117.7 million for employees and R10.2 million to councillors.

The MEC goes on to state that if Umvoti does not adhere to the requirements listed in her report “I will have no choice but to escalate the matter to National Treasury to recommend stopping the equitable share transfers to your municipality ,as outlined in the Constitution.

Also of interest in the Exco agenda is the list of deviations from Supply Chain Management regulation even though Umvoti Municipality does have an operative Supply Chain Management policy.

The accounting Officer is permitted to “dispense with official procurement processes” in urgent and emergency cases, and where it is impractical to follow normal SCM process.Some of the irregular expenditure items; Of interest the Acacia Park upliftment – as can be seen in the photograph a lot is still to be done and residents are not quite sure why it is been undertaken.The expenditure of R 7 362 359 .85 was approved –no scm process was followed. To date R6 990 577 has been paid to the contractor.

Lakhi’s Sportsfield which has been upgraded several times over the years,at the cost of millions, is down for an irregular no scm process of R8 million plus.Very expensive outdoor gym equipment has been erected on this unfinished extravagant project as can be seen in the photograph. Just as a matter of interest – when Acacia Park was first mooted residents were told there would be 24/7 security. In regard to the gym equipment at Lakhis has the Municipality taken out a general indemnity to protect them in the case of injuries to members of the public using this high calibre equipment.

Quite a few more irregular expenditures;Seethal attorneys an irregular amount of R205,021.35 –explanation”the contract expired .It not yet renewed.”

–to end on a high note and to query why major jobs such as the above have to be treated as urgent and emergency cases- “Installation of high mast for ‘slam’ clearance;awarded 29 June for R3 507 322.56 –reason emergency as it was impractically to follow tender process.” Amd how about R15 264 744,94 to Sibgem – no scm process followed!