Home News NC records low spend on Covid-19 emergency funds

NC records low spend on Covid-19 emergency funds

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The Province has only spent R1 million of its R6.2 million emergency funds allocated for the buying of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators in April.

FILE PIC (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

THE NORTHERN Cape has only spent R1 million of its R6.2 million emergency funds allocated for the buying of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators in April.

This was revealed when the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) made a presentation on its adjusted budget and Covid-19 interventions to the appropriations committee on Tuesday.

Five of the country’s nine provinces recorded low expenditure on the R466 million emergency funds allocated and transferred for the buying of PPE and ventilators in April.

Only four provinces fully spent the allocation made to the health sector from the provincial disaster relief grant (PGRG).

Cogta director-general Avril Williamson named Gauteng (R115.9 million), KwaZulu-Natal (R138.9m), Limpopo (R42m) and the North West (R18.5m) as the provinces that fully spent their allocations.

Williamson said the Eastern Cape has spent a mere R3.1m out of its R44m, the Western Cape R7.4m out of its R53.2m allocation, the Free State R6.6m out of R12m and the Northern Cape R1m out of its R6.2m.

Reasons for the low expenditure ranged from challenges in delivery of goods to implementation of interventions being still under way.

Although Mpumalanga spent its R33m allocation, the report submitted to the Cogta portfolio committee showed that the province was still finalising its implementation of its interventions.

Williamson also said that R138m has been allocated and had been transferred to provinces as part of drought relief funds in July.

She added that only R8.4m was spent on the R150.9m allocated to municipalities for temporary sanitation and decontamination of selected public places as well as waste and refuse removal.

The Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape recorded zero expenditure though funds were transferred in May for a six-month period.

Williamson told the MPs that only Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Western Cape have submitted expenditure reports.

“Engagements are under way with respective provinces on reporting and accounting for the allocation,” she said.

Williamson told the MPs that the R20 billion for local government that was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa as part of the R500 billion relief measures was taken from existing budgets.

“This is not an increase in budget but rather the reallocation of funds from other government programmes provide for the municipality responses and interventions as part of government response to the Covid-19 epidemic.”

The amount allocated is for emergency water supply, sanitisation of public transport and facilities as well as provision of shelter and food for the homeless.

R11 billion was from the local government equitable share and R9.4 billion was obtained from repurposing allocations already made to municipalities through the Division of Revenue Act.

Chief director for municipal finance Mbulelo Sigaba explained that the R11bn to be transferred to municipalities would supplement households that are not be able to pay for services. 

“We estimate the number to increase to 14 million households.”

Sigaba said that the amount would also supplement the loss in revenue the municipalities would suffer due to the impact of Covid-19.

He added that the R9bn from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) was not reduced but repurposed to respond to Covid-19.

“The focus was on water-related infrastructure. We have not reduced allocation for MIG but responded to Covid demands,” Sigaba said.

Cogta Deputy Minister Obed Bapela said quite a number of municipalities were going to run short of money as the estimated revenue to be collected would be less because people were unemployed.

Bapela said Gauteng municipalities were already short with R5bn and Rustenburg Municipality in the North West has reported a R1.2bn deficit.

“Post-Covid we will have a difficult environment, financially,” he added.