Municipalities are no longer being assisted by officials from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), after millions of rands were diverted from the Municipal Public Participation (MPP) directorate, to pay for the controversial Masipathisane programme.
This is according COGTA MEC, Fikile Xasa, who confirmed in a response to a parliamentary question that, despite not having a budget allocated to the programme, the department spent R2,119 million on it by placing it under the MPP directorate.
This Masipathisane programme was a job scheme for ANC cronies, which has nothing to do with service delivery at local government level. Cash starved municipalities need every cent they can get, and that money should be spent on service delivery, and not on ANC cadres.
Xasa says: “There is now a challenge of budget within the directorate of Municipal Public Participation. The funds have been fully exhausted and now the officials are no longer giving assistance to the municipalities.”
The Democratic Alliance has been opposed to the Ward “War Rooms” established through the Masipathisane programme since inception. The DA in the Eastern Cape, at its 2017 Provincial Congress, adopted a resolution to not participate in this programme.
The war rooms are essentially duplicate structures to ward committees, which are legal structures with the same purpose as set out and governed by the Local Government Municipal Structures Act.
The Act also clearly sets out that ward committee members are not paid, and that any expenses incurred by ward committees are for the expense of the municipality concerned.
The question one has to ask is why then has the failing ANC government deemed it fit to spend over R2-million on these initiatives?
Now, instead of improving service delivery, municipalities across the province are being denied actual support that should be afforded to them, and which was properly budgeted for, because those funds have been spent elsewhere.
The Democratic Alliance remains committed to improving basic service delivery and building one South Africa for all.
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