Fi­nances ‘messier than a pit la­trine’, DA MP claims

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Bianca Ca­pa­zo­rio

WA­TER and Sanitation Min­is­ter Nomvula Mokonyane’s bud­get vote very nearly did not get the buy-in from the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee – its fi­nan­cial state was de­scribed as messier than a pit la­trine by an op­po­si­tion MP.

Par­lia­ment’s wa­ter and sanitation com­mit­tee ini­tially ex­pressed strong reser­va­tions about sign­ing off on the bud­get but‚ fol­low­ing an 11th-hour meet­ing, the com­mit­tee de­cided to adopt it, al­beit with var­i­ous con­cerns.

Chief among these was an amount of R1.8-bil­lion the de­part­ment still owes con­trac­tors from the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year‚ R18.9-mil­lion in over-ex­pen­di­ture and the R8-bil­lion debt book and R2.9-bil­lion over­draft of the Wa­ter Trad­ing En­tity.

The com­mit­tee said yes­ter­day it would ex­er­cise stricter con­trol and had in­sti­tuted quar­terly meet­ings to track progress on these fi­nan­cial is­sues.

Mokonyane’s speech made no men­tion of her de­part­ment’s eco­nomic woes. In­stead, she chose to fo­cus on projects un­der way and those al­ready de­liv­ered. Only 25 000 bucket toi­lets were left to be re­moved. Of these‚ 14 000 were a work in progress and 11 000 would be tack­led with al­ter­nate tech­nolo­gies.

She also thanked South Africans for sav­ing wa­ter dur­ing the drought.

The DA’s Tar­nia Baker said there was a se­ri­ous dis­con­nect be­tween plan­ning and bud­get in the de­part­ment.

“Its fi­nances are in a deeper‚ darker and in a messier state than one of its aban­doned pit la­trines” she said.

Wa­ter and sanitation com­mit­tee chair­man ANC MP Lulu John­son‚ said the de­part­ment’s R15.1bil­lion bud­get for this year was less than that of the pre­vi­ous year.

“This im­plies that ser­vice delivery is com­pro­mised‚” he said.

NOMVULA MOKONYANE

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