Draft budget tabled to council
Budget tabled to council
THE Ndlambe draft budget was tabled for consideration to council at Wednesday’s full council meeting, and DA finance portfolio councillor Ray Schenk pointed out that the budget had been balanced, income and expenditure, at just over R396-million for the 2017/18 budget period.
However, he was concerned that there had been absolutely no income available for capital projects.
“The rates increase according to the draft budget document will be 9%, and the overall increase on all levels, has been kept at just 9.83%,” he said. “If we require capital budget we will have to get it from somewhere else.”
At a previous council meeting, the Ndlambe administration was asked to produce a list of all municipal owned properties that might be disposed of to generate income that could be ploughed back into the community.
The meeting agenda contained a list of 44 properties with homes and structures, and another 44 plots (assumed to have no structures on them).
However, ANC Ward 9 councillor Stwiga Njibani asked that the agenda item be deferred until the next council meeting in order for a more comprehensive report to be developed and discussed.
He was supported by ANC caucus leader Andile Marasi.
Schenk did not agree and said that the councillors had requested the information.
“We are losing money by not selling off municipal property,” Schenk said.
DA PR councillor Skura Venene agreed, adding that the ANC caucus would inevitably use its majority to defer the item and thus delay action.
At this the ANC councillors requested a recess to discuss the matter further, and left to hold a caucus.
On their return, the request to defer the item was confirmed and the DA stated for the minutes that it was not in favour of the deferral.
Debt plagues the municipality
The council is aware that debt had become a major problem in Ndlambe and, last year, appointed debt collection agents Revco to recover debt of almost R100-million owed by residents.
Marasi argued that the names of defaulters were not entirely correct, and that several households where Revco had intervened were those of registered indigents and therefore were excluded from paying rates.
But Schenk, as finance portfolio councillor, was not quite finished.
“Councillors themselves owe over R50 000 to the municipality, and that debt has only been accumulated for three months,” he said.
“Even worse, municipal officials now owe R1.2-million. And these figures are only for accounts older than 90 days.
“How are they ever going to be able to pay this money back?”