Mpumalanga MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Vusi Mkhatshwa together with MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mandla Ndlovu met with ten local municipalities to assess their budget plans ahead of tabling next month.
The meeting, which was chaired by MEC Mkhatshwa aimed at assisting municipalities to resolve matters relating to unfunded budgets before tabling for the year 2022/3 financial year. Each municipality, represented by Mayors, Municipal Managers and Chief Financial Officers presented their plans and projections to the Provincial Treasury team responsible for Municipal Finance.
This forms part of the Provincial Treasury’s role to enhance accountability in both Public Finance Management Act and Municipal Finance Management Acts through intergovernmental collaborations. On his opening remarks, MEC Mkhatshwa said that over the past two weeks, the Provincial Treasury engaged in a consultative process with each of our municipalities in terms of Section 23 of the MFMA.
He said the engagements, the draft budget was discussed and it was agreed that the recommendations from the Provincial Treasury will be incorporated into the draft budgets prior to consideration by the Council for approval. “The process afforded us an opportunity to test the credibility of budgets and check whether they meet the MFMA and funding requirements to prioritise basic services for the communities,” said MEC.
According to the analysis conducted by the Provincial Treasury, ten municipalities’ budgets in the Province fall short of the funding compliance criteria as set out in Sec 18 of the MFMA.
The affected municipalities are Emalahleni, Lekwa, Dr. Pixley Isaka Seme, Thaba Chweu, Mkhondo, Dipaleseng, Govan Mbeki, Msukaligwa, Chief Albert Luthuli and Victor Khanye. “We wish to highlight that the unfunded budget goes against the provisions of Section 18 of the MFMA in short, it is a pure transgression of the law,” he added. The consequence is even not desirable, said the MEC.
The unfunded budgets further contribute to Section 138 and 140 triggers, which warrant further prescribed interventions into the affairs of the municipality. “We should be reminded of the consequences of this non-compliance which will result in the implementation of Section 216 of the Constitution. I want to appeal to all of us to use this budget engagement process as an opportunity to engage frankly and work towards the improvement of the unfunded budget, concludes MEC