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Concern over R70m spent on consultants

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The ANC has urged Coghsta to pay attention to the escalating Eskom debt at Northern Cape municipalities

File mage: IOL

GREATER integrity, transparency and accountability will be required in order to deliver quality services and dignified housing for all Northern Cape residents.

This is according to the DA’s provincial leader, Andrew Louw, in reaction to the Northern Cape Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs’ budget.

Louw was speaking during yesterday’s budget debate at the Frances Baard District Municipality’s chambers, when he said that the fact that R70 million was spent on consultants for financial reporting was one of a number of concerns that required urgent investigation.

“This (R70 million) is double the amount spent on such consultants in 2015/2016, and it excludes consultants paid for by other institutions,” he explained yesterday. “Good quality financial statements and annual reports are necessary to ensure that accountability and transparency are achieved.

“I therefore want to use this opportunity to call on the MEC for Coghsta to launch an investigation into these so-called consultants. Municipalities must be held accountable for their choice of professional advisers.”

The party’s provincial leader pointed out that 22 municipalities in the Northern Cape were on the verge of a total collapse of service delivery because their budgets exceeded their expenditure – owing creditors a total of R1.098 billion while their cash and equivalents amount to only R239 million.

“Local and provincial government must work more transparently and with more integrity when it comes to housing projects,” Louw added. “Otherwise, this department will continue to deliver houses at last year’s very slow pace, which saw only 284 houses completed. At this rate, it will take over 87 years to meet the housing backlog.

“Change is desperately needed to rebuild our municipalities and to deliver quality services and dignified housing options to all citizens.”

Meanwhile, the ANC has urged Coghsta to pay attention to the escalating Eskom debt at Northern Cape municipalities.

ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga also advised the department to work on improving audit outcomes and increasing the revenue collection of municipalities.

“Our municipalities remain a focal point for service delivery, sound financial management and good governance is key in unlocking services to our people. Irregular expenditure, missing or incomplete procurement information and uncompetitive and unfair procurement processes should prioritised by the department in order to uncover the scourge of mismanagement in some municipalities.”