BCM fails to spend R135m for 19 projects

Buffalo City Metro failed to spend R135-million meant for, among others, sanitation, roads and infrastructure in 19 crucial projects which should have been completed by June this year.

Now the municipality has rolled over the money to the 2016-17 financial year, with the metro’s new executive mayor Xola Pakati expressing concern over the under-expenditure.

Topping the list of under-spending directorates for 2015-16 was that of municipal services which failed to spend R45.2-million.

The city manager’s directorate comes second with R35-million, while health, public safety and emergency services failed to spend R16.5-million.

Also on the list was the department of infrastructure services which could not spend R14.5-million, despite the city’s huge backlog.

Another R35-million which was initially meant to benefit thousands of residents from Zwelitsha through the bulk regional sewerage scheme has now been transferred to fund BCM’s Information Communication Technology “for the metro to overcome network challenges”.

Pakati presented the roll-over as an urgent matter during a council meeting that was held over a week ago.

He said the roll-over was the metro’s first adjustment budget in the 2016-17 financial year and was a result of requests from various directorates.

“At year-end of 30 June 2016, various directorates indicated that certain projects, provided for execution in the 2015-16 financial year, could not be completed,” said Pakati.

While Pakati defended the under-spending saying it could not “reasonably have been foreseen at the time of execution and finalisation of 2016-17 medium-term revenue and expenditure framework”, the DA lambasted the metro’s leadership for failing to take action against those “responsible” for the under-spending.

The affected projects include:

  • The fencing of Garcia Flats which was allocated R458 860 last year;
  • R199 168 from the department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism (Dedeat) from old conditional grants, the money will now be used for the rehabilitation of Stoney Drift landfill site following “the recent directive for Dedeat”;
  • The design and implementation of the bulk sanitation provision for the Eastern Beach sewers. R21-million was committed to the project however “unsuccessful bidders have challenged the award process” causing delays to the implementation of the project;
  • R1.2-million was committed for a “service delivery public participation truck with its full sound system”. BCM said the tender was at the awarding stages of procurement processes and will be implemented in this financial year;
  • An amount of R25-million committed to the King William’s Town regional scheme 2 for bulk sanitation and replacement of existing infrastructure. The project was not finished “due to unforeseen circumstances”;
  • The procurement of graders for rural roads which was allocated R8.5-million; and
  • The contract for implementation of solid waste mechanical plant for vehicles was awarded and funded R30.5-million however the project was not delivered by June 30.

Pakati warned that the roll-over of BCM’s own funded projects had the potential of reducing the surplus budgeted in the original budget and “may even drive it into deficit”.

“What continues to be of concern is the potential financial impact of depreciation on the operations of the institution,” he said.

“There needs to be ongoing vigilance to reduce costs and become more efficient to allow for the funding depreciation whilst charging affordable tariffs to the consumers”.

DA’s councillor Chantel King, who serves in the party’s finance committee, said most of the affected projects should have been completed on time.

“We were not happy about the roll-over report simply because a number of those affected projects should have been finished on time.

“There were delays in the tender processes and supply chain management is always the department that gives us problems,” said King.

“This is not the first time this has happened but there is no action against the people who are responsible for such action. BCM is not serious about taking action.” — mamelag@dispatch.co.za


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