Alfred Nzo in drive to curb costs

Out-of-town meetings will no longer be allowed at Alfred Nzo district municipality and instead of paying overtime claims, staff will be asked to take some time off work.

Even critical trips will only be allowed after proper approval.

District mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu. PICTURE: SOURCED

These are some of the changes announced in a speech delivered late yesterday by district mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu.

He tabled a R1-billion budget for the 2017-18 financial year set to start on July 1.

Even travel arrangements will now be done through the municipality’s own supply chain management office instead of outside travel agents. Catering for meetings and promotional materials have been abolished.

The mayor also announced a 6% tariff increase for water and sanitation for the new year, while expenditure on employee-related costs increased from R223-million to R261-million in the new year.

Announcing the budget yesterday, Mehlomakhulu said the new council, which came in after last year’s local government elections, had started on a bad footing. “Our reserves have been depleted and the situation compels us to live within our means.”

He said communities were expecting faster provision of basic services but “on the other side we are faced with a narrowing fiscal envelope”. New strategies were needed to address service delivery demands.

As such, the mayor announced that there would be cost-cutting measures which would affect expenditure on:

lTravel and subsistence;

lConsultants;

lVenue hire;

lAccommodation;

lCatering;

lMunicipal vehicles;

lCellphones and telephony; and

lCar hire.

Mehlomakhulu also announced that the municipality would minimise the number of people put on standby and that there would be an end to water carting on weekends. Vacant positions would be filled in the next financial year.

“As the municipality we have to accelerate our efforts. Implementing the revenue enhancement strategy and the funds generated internally will assist in putting aside some funds in order for us to have reserves.”

The district authority had also received R5-million compared to the R8-million it received in the 2016-17 financial year for energy efficiency and a management grant aimed at providing subsidies to municipalities to improve energy efficiency.

Mehlomakhulu said R20-million had been allocated to the Alfred Nzo Development Agency while R21-million had been put aside for repairs and maintenance of the water and sanitation infrastructure in the district.

But he said the allocation represented a drop in the ocean considering the ageing infrastructure demands.

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