Newcastle Municipality could lose grant funding, due to a lack of spending

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Finding that funds are not being utilised by the Newcastle Municipality, the KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (KZN CoGTA) made the trip to the Northern KwaZulu-Natal town to address the matter. 

Spearheading the meeting with the Newcastle Municipality on Tuesday, 31 May 2022, the Department head, Tando Tubane was joined by MEC for KZN CoGTA, Sipho Hlomuka, along with various senior officials.

The CoGTA delegation addressed more than the Newcastle Municipality, attending to issues in the Amajuba District Municipality and uMzinyathi District Municipality as well. 

The focus of the meeting was aimed at how the three government entities were spending or not spending grants provided to them by both the provincial and national governments.

KZN CoGTA stressed that the level of expenditure was a strong barometer showing the strength of service delivery to communities. 

In fact, CoGTA noted that greater expenditure levels were viewed as a positive indicator, showing that municipalities were using the allocated budgets.

 “As the department of CoGTA, we convened an urgent meeting with the leadership of the Newcastle, uMzinyathi and Amajuba Municipalities, where we took them through our latest reports on several grants that were given to these municipalities that show slower expenditure than expected.”

Hlomuka explained that slower expenditure was a great cause for concern, as these grants related to the provision of services such as water, sanitation, electricity, and special projects such as Disaster Management. 

“As the department of CoGTA, we have taken a zero-tolerance stance on the failure of municipalities to spend monies that are aimed at improving the lives of our communities. The failure to spend these monies delays the release of more funds which could assist more communities.”

Concerningly, Hlomuka stressed that should the Newcastle Municipality, the Amajuba District Municipality and uMzinyathi District Municipality fail to spend the monies, the department would have to withdraw these funds and give them to municipalities that will be able to use the funds.

According to CoGTA, some of the uncomplete projects date back to 2015, such as the uMzinyathi Disaster Management Centre which is not complete. 

During the meeting, municipalities were directed to comply with the request to submit evidence of expenditure which is a requirement for all grants.

With all this in mind, what are your thoughts on the matter?

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