DA calls for stringent monitoring of grant funding in EC municipalities

Issued by Vicky Knoetze, MPL
Shadow MEC for COGTA

The Democratic Alliance is calling for far more stringent monitoring and guidance measures to be put in place relating to grant funding provided to Eastern Cape municipalities.

In response to a DA parliamentary question, the MEC for COGTA, Xolile Nqatha, revealed extensive underspending of grants by Eastern Cape Municipalities.

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This is a simply unacceptable, as these funds are specifically granted to municipalities to assist with key interventions for the betterment of the lives of the people of the province!

I have therefore written to MEC Nqatha, to request that far more stringent monitoring and guidance measures be put in place relating to grant funding.

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The three key areas of underspending include:

  • Water Services Infrastructure Grant, put in place to assist water authorities to reduce water and sanitation backlogs – 33% expenditure. Only 68% of households in the Eastern Cape have access to piped water, which is the lowest of all the provinces.
  • Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant – Schedule 5B, put in place to facilitate the access to water and sanitation through bulk projects – 77% expenditure. Only 46.7% of households in the Eastern Cape have access to flush toilets, against the 93.4% in the Western Cape. It is estimated that 38 000 people still make use of pit latrines in the province.
  • Municipal Disaster Recovery Grant, put in place to facilitate the repair of infrastructure following disaster – 28% expenditure.

Metropolitan municipalities have also not been able to spend all the grant funding allocated to them. Buffalo City Municipality has spent 85.34% of its total allocated grant funding, while Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality has only been able to spend 59.15% of its allocated grant funding in the last financial year.

A further R200 million in Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) funding of the total R2,997 billion allocated to the province in the last financial year has also gone unspent.

Major culprits included:

  • Makana Municipality – 67%
  • Koukamma Municipality – 70%
  • Sakhisizwe Municipality – 54%
  • Mbizana Municipality – 78%
  • Chris Hani DM – 77%
  • Walter Sisulu Municipality – 64%

The MIG, established in 2003, is aimed at providing every person in South Africa with at least the basic level of services and infrastructure. It is therefore simply unacceptable that this grant funding is not being spent.

The DA believes that having functional infrastructure in place is key to improving the lives of people and growing the economy.