R200m budget cut for BCM

More than R200-million has been cut from Buffalo City Metro’s capital budget for the 2016-17 financial year, leaving many councillors livid as key service delivery projects will be hit.

This was revealed when BCM mayor Xola Pakati presented the metro’s mid-year adjustment budget at a council meeting.

The adjustments to the capital budget, operating budget and operating expenditure left many ward councillors angry after their ward projects were removed from the budget.

The capital budget was slashed from R1.693-billion to R1.491-billion.

Municipal services decreased by R71.6-million from its R167.7-million budget.

Human settlements decreased by R70.6-million from R211.4-million.

The infrastructure department decreased by R31-million, and health, public safety and emergency services has decreased by R16.7-million.

Pakati said the main reason for the adjustment was to re-allocate funds among capital and operating budgets, votes, expenditure types, conditional grants and rollovers, and to ensure operational efficiencies.

However, the adjustments could mean major delays for some projects promised to residents.

Millions were taken from the Quenera to Beacon Bay link road project and transferred to the Fleet Street project.

The Needs Camp Potsdam Bridge project budget was cut by R12-million, with R5-million reallocated to the Sleeper Site project and R7-million to the Reeston Phase 3 stage 3 project.

Other changes include:

lR1.2-million meant for a “service delivery, public participation truck with full sound system” was transferred to an ICT fibre rollout project;

lRoads projects for Duncan Village proper, C-Section, Triangular site and D Hostel projects have “lost” all R46.3-million allocated as the projects are still under litigation; and

lR20.9-million meant for the Eastern Beach sewer upgrade has been reallocated to replace existing infrastructure.

As at December 31 2016 the capital budget spend was stagnant at 31%.

The operating budget was increased from R5.905-billion to R5.943-billion and the operating expenditure budget from R5.904-billion to R5.942-billion.

In the report, Pakati said an analysis was done to determine projects having challenges and those progressing at a pace above the original anticipated time and therefore requiring additional funding.

However, an unimpressed ward 25 councillor Crosby Kolela said the budget was not “pro-community”.

“For my ward, I see nothing. We submitted only five priorities in November through the IDP [integrated development plan] but there is nothing. There are wars in our communities over service delivery but I see nothing for my ward.”

Ward 50 councillor Thobile Mtya said: “I agree with Crosby, we are not reflected in this budget.”

Another unhappy councillor, Pumla Yenana-Nonjiwu, said she was disappointed that ward 17 projects were not reflected in the budget.

Councillor Luleka Simon-Ndzele said: “When it comes to reasons for not spending, we are not getting tangible reasons why we couldn’t spend.

“Mayoral committee members and heads of departments must deal with these matters and submit to the council meeting of March,” Simon-Ndzele said.

“In the adjustment they are stating that National Treasury did not agree with the funding because we have failed to submit the city precinct plan and we want clarity on that.”

Pakati said a rise in unemployment and staff strike action had lowered revenue collection in the metro. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

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