Mpumalanga MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mr. Vusi Mkhatshwa with MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr. Mandla Ndlovu met with ten local municipalities to assess their budget plans ahead of tabling next month.
The meeting, chaired by MEC Mkhatshwa, aimed to help municipalities address issues related to unfunded budgets ahead of the filing of the 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 finances.
It is part of the role of the Provincial Treasury to improve accountability in both the Public Financial Management Act and the Municipal Financial Management Acts through intergovernmental collaborations.
In his opening remarks, MEC Mkhatshwa said that over the past two weeks, the Provincial Treasury has engaged in a consultation process with each of our municipalities under Section 23 of the MFMA.
He indicated that the commitments, the draft budget were discussed and it was agreed that the recommendations of the Provincial Treasury will be incorporated into the draft budgets before they are considered by Council for approval.
“The process gave us the opportunity to test the credibility of the budgets and whether they meet the MFMA and funding requirements to prioritize basic services for communities,” MEC said.
According to the analysis conducted by the Provincial Treasury, the budgets of ten municipalities in the province do not meet the funding compliance criteria as set out in Section 18 of the MFMA.
The municipalities concerned are Emalahleni, Lekwa, Dr. Pixley Isaka Seme, Thaba Chweu, Mkhondo, Dipaleseng, Govan Mbeki, Msukaligwa, Chief Albert Luthuli and Victor Khanye.
“We wish to emphasize that the unfunded budget is against the provisions of Section 18 of the MFMA – in short, it is a pure transgression of the law,” he added.
The consequence is not even desirable, said the MEC.
Unfunded budgets further contribute to section 138 and 140 triggers, which warrant further prescribed interventions in municipal affairs.
“It is worth remembering the consequences of this non-compliance which will lead to the application of article 216 of the Constitution.
I want to call on all of us to use this budget commitment process as an opportunity to candidly engage and work towards improving the unfunded budget, concludes MEC.