Draft bud­get tabled to coun­cil

Talk of the Town - - News - ROB KNOWLES

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.”

Mu­nic­i­pal-owned prop­er­ties

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?”

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