The controversy surrounding BCM’s 2020/2021 budget has escalated further, with DA councillor Sue Bentley alleging in a recent statement that it had been “illegally adopted”.
As previously reported in the GO! & Express (“BCM breaking law – DA”, August 13), concerns had been raised that no minutes for the June 29 meeting, where the budget had been voted on, had been released at the time.
The minutes have since been released to councillors and, according to Bentley, prove that the new budget was not properly approved.
“The Buffalo City council has 100 councillors; thus 51 councillors need to vote in favour of adopting the budget for it to be legally approved,” she said. “The adopted minutes show that, due to 22 apologies/applications for Leave of Absence and two vacancies, only 76 councillors were in session on June 29.”
Bentley said that the 23 DA and five EFF councillors all dissented on the adoption of the budget, which left only 48 councillors voting in favour.
While this was a majority, it was short of the 51-vote threshold which, according to Bentley, makes the budget’s subsequent adoption illegal.
“The failure to meet the legal requirements of passing the budget renders all expenditure incurred by the municipality in the new financial year as unauthorised and irregular, and tariff increases illegal,” she said.
The new budget was set at R9.1bn while July also saw increases of 9.2% for waste removal and water services, 9.2% for sewage services and 6.23% for electricity. Property rates also rose by 6.25%.
The GO! & Express sent questions to BCM, who declined to comment.
“We will not engage with the matter on the media domain as all political parties are aware of what the protocols are, should they have issues related to council meetings.
“The Speaker of Council will deal with the submission once it has been logged with his office, accordingly,” said Ngwenya.
Bentley called on the speaker to convene a Special Council Meeting to legally approve a new budget, and said the DA would escalate the matter to co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and National Treasury.