Council under fire over funds

THE Blouberg municipality in Limpopo could find itself in trouble after allegations that it had failed to utilise R13million set aside for conditional grants.

The money also does not appear anywhere in the municipal account.

The damning revelation was made by the African Christian Democratic Party.

Conditional grants are meant to be used for electrification and road maintenance. These funds were provided to the municipalities by the local government and minerals departments for such services.

The party has also written to the provincial department of local government and housing to seek clarity on the matter.

According to a document in possession of Sowetan, in terms of new accounting standards, municipalities should account for unspent funds.

All grants received from the 2005-06 financial year were calculated to the end of June last year, which amounted to R13million as rollovers.

But the ACDP alleges that the municipality had failed to utilise the money.

Under normal circumstances, if such money is not utilise, the municipality in question has to return it to the relevant department.

The ACDP's Solomon Maboya said yesterday that more than R13million meant for conditional grants was unspent and had disappeared from the municipal coffers.

He said as a way of justifying its nonexistent expenditure, the municipality had created a breakdown of expenses it claimed to have used the money for.

It listed R3,5million as having been used for salaries and staff appointments.

Performance bonuses, international missions and others also accounted for a fraction of the money. Some of the monies had been deferred to the 2010-2011 financial year, apparently to avoid a situation where the municipality would have to be forced to return it.

Maboya said there was a clear intention by council to loot.

"Those involved in the disappearance of the money must account," said a fuming Maboya.

He said there were many villages in the area which had not been electrified.

Yesterday, municipal spokesperson Nhlanhla Mashele said she would first discuss matters with senior municipal officials before responding to the queries.