The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the North West has accused premier Bushy Maape of protecting his MECs, heads of departments and directors in supply chain management following the underspending of R1 billion for the 2021-22 financial period.
Poor service delivery
A DA member of the provincial legislature alleged that the province’s failure to use the conditional grants, amounting to R1 billion, impacted badly on the already poor service delivery situation.
While part of R1 billion was put back into the following/current financial year, about R619 million, the balance was returned to the National Treasury.
This was despite lack of quality service delivery. Clover, a dairy company, disinvested from the province over what they described as the lack of proper roads and unreliable water in recent years.
Fire responsible parties
University of the North-West’s political analyst professor André Duvenhage also called for the premier to fire all those responsible for returning the money to Treasury.
“This has become a pattern in North West but it is completely unacceptable when you look at the decay and the state of the province. “This needs strong steps from the side of the premier and the provincial government,” he said.
DA member of the legislature Freddy Sonakile said: “We will only know around July how much was returned this year because it has become a norm to return money meant for service delivery to the Treasury.”
This followed the response by MEC of finance Motlalepula Rosho to written questions about the previous financial period of 2021-22.
“The question I asked was triggered by the fact that farmers in the province cannot be funded while the money was returned to the treasury. In 2021-22, there were exactly 12 000 applications by farmers for assistance, and only 110 farmers were funded, which is only 10% of applicants,” Sonakile charged.
According to Sonakile, Maape should deal with those responsible for returning the money. “It is becoming clear there is an element of criminality wherein the heads of departments and directors of supply chain management are reluctant to give out tenders which will not give kickbacks.
What could be another reason for refusing to use money when people do not have proper roads, water, sanitation, etc,” he asked.
According to Rosho: “In aggregate the province underspent R1 063 on conditional grants for the 2021/22 financial period. An amount of R619 425 million was approved as a rollover for 2022/23 financial year.”
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Head of the provincial department of finance Ndlela Kunene said: “The general challenges relating to spending in relation to infrastructure is large as a result of inadequate planning and slow implementation of plans.
Government is putting structures in place to ensure its effectiveness in response to those challenges.” Duvenhage blamed incompetence: “It has to do with an ANC policy of cadre deployment – putting unskilled people in positions. Ordinary people pay the price.”
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