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’Broke NC municipalities overstaffed’

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The DA in the Northern Cape has warned that despite their dire financial state, municipalities in the Province are heavily staffed.

File picture: Oupa Mokoena

DA MPL and provincial spokesperson on Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs Michael Kaars said that despite their dire financial state, municipalities in the Northern Cape are heavily staffed.

“Municipalities in the Province spent R62 million on hiring consultants only to achieve unfavourable qualified audits. In turn, this leads to the inability of municipalities to manage their finances, causing as many as 70 percent of municipalities to spend more than half of their following year’s budget, before the new financial year has even started,” said Kaars.

“This sets off a vicious cycle, whereby municipalities neglect everything else, just to pay salaries, which the auditor-general indicates consume R2.5 billion of municipal funding, representing 46 percent of total revenue.

“There is also growing irregular expenditure, with as many as 87 percent of municipalities employing uncompetitive and unfair procurement processes.”

Kaars added that the Province owed Eskom R2.8 billion and was neglecting to pay service providers such as the water boards.

“It is this unmanaged debt that led to litigation that froze Renosterberg’s bank account and brought the municipality to its knees, collapsing service delivery and salaries of employees.

“It is also this unmanaged debt that will be the downfall of many more municipalities in the Northern Cape.”

Kaars noted that municipal service delivery in the Province was at an all-time low.

“Even the AG highlights gross deterioration of infrastructure, such as roads, water networks and sewage plants, as well as municipalities neglecting their responsibility to deliver basic services to their communities, which, as residents of the Northern Cape, we have become all too familiar with.”

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