Municipality overspends budget by R8m

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The Nkomazi local municipality has overspent R8million, only three months after suspending its municipal manager and dissolving the audit committee.

Municipal manager Sabelo Shabangu was suspended on November 4, 2008 for "poor performance".

The chief financial officer informed the mayoral committee of the R8.1 million deficit.

Examples of over expenditure include travel expenses for 60 councillors reaching R1,7 million and overspending by R1 million for general maintenance in just three months.

Nkomazi was rated among the top seven municipalities in Mpumalanga on the Municipal Infrastructure Grant for the 2007-2008 financial year.

MEC for local government, Candith Mashego-Dlamini, rated Nkomazi one of the "best performers" along with Thaba Chweu, Dipaliseng, Prixley Ka Seme, Steve Tshwete, Umjindi and Umkhondo.

Municipal sources said that shortly after Shabangu's suspension, Robert Vilakazi, the chairman of Nkomazi's Section 79 committee, pushed for the dissolution of the audit committee.

At the time, the committee had reported several incidents of corruption.

Vilakazi's inputs resulted in Shabangu's eventual suspension as well as the subsequent dissolution of the municipality's audit committee. Finance MEC Jabu Mahlangu and Mashego-Dlamini have reportedly not yet acted against the alleged corruption.

The R8-million overspend is said to have resulted in the municipality calling for an "urgent" meeting today in which a budget adjustment aimed at trying to deal with the challenge was tabled.

However, municipal spokesperson Cyril Ripinga told Sowetan: "Definitely, there is no deficit in our municipality."

Meanwhile, acting municipal manager Thokozani Siboza and chief financial officer Sheila Mabaso are said to have reduced the powers of the supply chain management unit that was dealing with securing quotations from suppliers.

A municipal source said that Douglas Mkhantswa, the head of the supply chain management unit, was instructed by Siboza that she could no longer approve any order above R30000 and that Mabaso and Siboza would "take over" this task.

In another development, Deputy chief financial officer Andre Lubber was removed from controlling budget expenditure immediately after Shabangu was suspended.