Home South African Mboweni will tell us to ‘tighten our belts’ …

Mboweni will tell us to ‘tighten our belts’ …

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... but council in Limpopo blows R500 000 on bottled water

PICTURE: PEXELS

As the country waits to be told to “tighten its belt” by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni when he delivers yet another uninspiring Budget Speech on Wednesday, we also learn of the carelessness of Fetakgomo-Greater Tubatse Local Municipality (FTLM) officials in Limpopo, who splurged almost R500 000 buying bottled water for their colleagues.

A story in one of Independent Media’s newspapers at the weekend revealed that the municipality, between 2018 and 2019, spent R476 000 buying bottled water to quench the thirst of its employees and fatten the pockets of an unknown tenderpreneur.

According to the council’s supply chain management report, it has no records of who had been given the tender. Making this matter even more appalling is the fact that people who live in towns serviced by the cash-strapped FTLM continue to have limited access to water, despite several bulk water systems being launched recently.

This questionable water-bottle transaction spits in the face of the half a million people who reside in that municipality, which once lost R245million in irregular investments made with the now-defunct VBS Mutual Bank.

The FTLM is just the tip of the iceberg of the mess that the country finds itself in due to poor financial management and bad decision-making by people in charge of government departments and state-owned entities (SOEs).

It has been reported that of the 257 municipalities countrywide, only 18 received a clean audit last year. But the government continues to bleed out millions of rand bailing out failing SOEs like Eskom and SAA. The state has lost over R500billion bailing out the under-performing SOEs.

The country cannot continue on this disastrous path, which is crippling our fiscus while bringing misery to the middle class, who have to pick up the mess by coughing up more in tax to steady the ship.

The talks of a possible 1% VAT increase could become our reality when he presents his Budget.

Mboweni is indeed against the ropes and needs to present us with an effective Budget that would ease the burden of the middle and working class; tighten state spending; act on negligent and corrupt supply chain managers; and resist bailing out the failing SOEs.