GROBLERSDAL – Following a statement by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Sekhukhune that Sekhukhune District Municipality (SDM) has failed to spend the R29 million allocated for water projects that were part of the COVID-19 emergency interventions in the area, the municipality has moved to provide clarity on the issue.
SDM has confirmed that the implementation of the projects was indeed meant to take place during the 2020/21 financial year which ended in June 2021.
The district municipality said that however, that was delayed by the litigation process initiated to interdict and invalidate the irregular appointment letters issued to service providers by its own officials in contravention of applicable legislation and supply chain management policy.
It added that its management, as guided by the stewardship of Executive Mayor Stanley Ramaila, approached the high court, empowered strictly by its resolve to root out wrong doing and entrench good governance.
According to SDM that decision was not influenced by any pressure coming from the outside and a high court order was granted in March 2021.
Moloko Moloto, SDM Spokesperson, said that meant even though the final court order had brought the litigation process to finality, it was not practically possible to advertise the bid, select the successful bidders, start and complete the projects on time, with the financial year on the horizon.
Moloto said it was worth pointing out that the district municipality successfully set aside the irregular appointment letters in question and that the allocated R29 million funding has not been lost or spent wrongly.
He added that through the intergovernmental relations channels, the SDM was currently in talks with relevant government departments to apply for a rollover of the funding to the current financial year which started in July this year.
“The district municipality is hopeful and confident that it will not forfeit this funding to the National Treasure. The municipality wants to assure the people of Sekhukhune that the projects in question will be implemented during the current financial year. Despite this temporary setback, the district municipality has managed to spend 99 percent of its Municipal Infrastructure Grant for the financial year under review, a feat that has been elusive for many years.
This is testament to the commitment of the political and administrative leadership of the district municipality toward reserving the historical water infrastructure backlog. The disciplinary hearing of three officials who were suspended is continuing,” said Moloto.
He concluded that the district municipality has decided that the implicated three officials return to workplace although not at their respective positions because investigations into the matter have been concluded and their return did not jeoperdise the ongoing disciplinary hearing.