The serious lack of capacity and service delivery in Buffalo City Municipality is a cause for concern. The infighting by ANC councillors to try and collude with opposition parties to make the municipality ungovernable is another issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

The capacity problems in the municipality have resulted in expenditure of only 36% of the 2009/10 Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG grant) to be spent during this financial year. As this grant is allocated to specific targeted infrastructure projects, the lack of expenditure means delivery on essential infrastructure projects are again delayed.

Furthermore, an amount of R25 million of the MIG grant had to be returned to national government this financial year due to the incapacity to spend this money. This is unforgivable and is contrary to legislation and should not be happening when communities are in dire need of service delivery in their suburbs.

With only 16% of the annual capital budget spent during this financial year, Buffalo City is in a serious mess and immediate action is needed to sort out this chaos.

As part of the Democratic Alliance “Action for Accountability”, I intend tabling a motion in the Legislature next week for a special debate on the matter. The Open Opportunity Society policy of the Democratic Alliance hinges on transparency and accountability. Heads need to roll at Buffalo City!

The Premier during her State of Province address on 19 February 2010 stated that success of government depends on the success of local government as the key site to service delivery. A diagnostic assessment, supported by the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs and supported by the Office of The Premier and Treasury, will lead the implementation of the strategy in the province. While this initiative is laudable, the public needs to know what the strategy is and the deadlines for deliverables.

Government must stop the talk and get on with immediate contingency plans to fix the local government mess in the province and Buffalo City specifically.

As part of this strategy, the cadre deployment of ANC “lackeys” must be done away with and replaced with people who are capable and “fit for purpose”, irrespective of what political persuasion they subscribe to.

With Buffalo City expected to get Metro-status after the 2011 local government elections, questions must be asked as to whether there is indeed capacity to raise the status of the municipality to that level.

The citizens of Buffalo City deserve better and can effect this change at the ballot box in next year’s election.

For further information, please contact Dacre Haddon, MPL on 079 694 3788

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