R2m in drought relief aid not spent

Picture: SUPPLIED

Chris Hani district municipality has failed to spend its R2m drought relief aid from the department of cooperative governance & traditional affairs for the 2019/2020 financial year.

The district municipality was one of eight Eastern Cape municipalities which did not use the funds for drilling boreholes and water treatment works establishment projects.

This was announced by Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha on his recent visit to Emalahleni Local Municipality in Cacadu.

Nqatha said the province was facing a major drought challenge caused by climate change.

“For this reason, Cogta took steps to fund the Chris Hani Municipality with R2m for 2019/2020 to fight against drought. Unfortunately, the money was never used,” he said.

“This is the kind of issue we need to fight because it is an insult to hear that money was returned due to not being used while there is a dire need.”

He added that Cogta minister Nkosazana Zuma had proposed that the monies not be taken by the national treasurer as community members who needed the aid would bear the brunt.

Nqatha said: “We are still fighting hard for this to be reconsidered and have even solicited the aid of the finance minister who is from the Eastern Cape.”

Cogta spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam said the funding was meant to assist with projects for the drilling of boreholes in the affected districts including in Dr Beyers Naude, Makana, and Sundays River Valley municipalities. He said water treatment works were also to be established in Ndlambe and Makana municipalities.

“The money not utilised was returned to the provincial treasury. This may affect future allocations due to capacity challenges in municipalities.”

The other municipalities which failed to spend the money included Alfred Nzo, Amathole, Joe Gqabi, Ndlambe, Makana, Dr Beyers Naude, Makana and Sundays River Valley.

CHDM spokesperson Bulelwa Ganyaza said the district municipality had initiated processes to augment water sources in Whittlesea following approval of the drought funding.

“A service provider was appointed to undertake groundwater exploration and development. Exploration was conducted, but the project stalled due to payment-related issues that could not be resolved by the district as the funds were not at our disposal. The drought funding allocated was never transferred to CHDM,” Ganyaza said.

She could not say if the funds were returned to the national treasury.

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