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Sol Plaatje at risk of losing R54 million unspent grant funds

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Sol Plaatje at risk of losing R54 million unspent grant funds

15th May 2024

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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by Polity.org.za, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by Polity.org.za.

Sol Plaatje desperately needs to upgrade, replace, and expand infrastructure to accommodate a growing population. It needs large amounts of money to do this but has failed to spend the millions allocated for exactly this purpose.

The municipality depends on grants to implement much needed capital infrastructure projects. This is in part due to a long-term financial plan, which states that only capital grants could be used to fund capital projects in the short to medium term. This clause was one of the reasons the DA opposed the plan, but it was pushed through by an ANC majority regardless.

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While Sol Plaatje now faces a significant funding crisis, it is not just money on the line.

The biggest, and possibly the most potentially catastrophic repercussion of Sol Plaatje’s failure to manage its grant funding, is the R35 million taken away from the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) meant for the upgrading of water infrastructure. The Integrated Urban Development Grant (IUDG), meant to refurbish water pipes, has also been reduced by R11 million.

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Since November 2021, there have been at least twelve shutdowns of municipal water supply. Water losses total over 60 percent, and excessive water repair and upgrade work is required.

Amongst other projects that will now be delayed is the upgrading of the Hadison Park substation. The substation regularly experiences power outages after loadshedding and cannot be relied upon to enable future development in its area of service. Its Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP) grant funding has been reduced by over R10 million.

The DA previously warned Sol Plaatje on numerous occasions that delaying implementation of the various steps, especially in the upgrading of the water infrastructure project, would lead to dire consequences. DA councillor, Chris Whittaker, also asked Sol Plaatje whether a notice was issued by treasury in respect of them taking back the unspent funds and, if so, why it was not presented to council. This is a requirement of the Municipal Finance Management Act. No response has been received.

The item was postponed until 30 May for further discussion in council. The DA will push for the ANC-run municipality, which has failed to implement the IDP and spend the grant money in a timeous manner, to be held to accountable.

 

Issued by Isak Fritz, MPL - Northern Cape Premier Candidate

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