ANC details De Lille’s budget “lies”

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Mayor Patricia de Lille lied about her budget expenditure and at least R1,5-billion was not spent on service delivery, claimed ANC leaders in the city’s legislature yesterday.

Xolani Sotashe, ANC whip in the city legislature, revealed the city’s budget which outlined where and how De Lille’s administration spent its budget. De Lille late last month said under her leadership the city had spent R6,2-billion between July 1 last year and June 30 this year.

“This is a blatant lie… The city’s actual spending until the end of May was only R3,6-billion. They city committed R1,1-billion in unrealised projects in their budget… that equals R4,7-billion,” said Sotashe.

“There is a shortfall of R1,5-billion between the original amount budgeted of R6,2-billion and the R4,4-billion allegedly spent.”

De Lille said her administration had spent 92,9% of the 2012/13 financial year. The ANC’s figures indicate that 20% less than that had been spent.

De Lille yesterday defended her budget, showing graphs on how during her reign in the city budget expenditure had increased, effectively translating into service delivery in the city.

“The city has prioritised a massive allocation of resources to improve living conditions in informal settlements, specifically in the provision of refuse removal and area cleaning, water, sanitation and electricity,” said De Lille.

“This is part of our commitment to pro-poor spending and investment in infrastructure. The city has consistently increased its budget for the provisions of informal settlements. We have made efforts to provide services to informal dwellings.”

Sotashe pointed to De Lille’s budget shortfalls in various sectors.

“There are amounts of R471-million and R50-million which officials claim to have spent on the acquisition of busses, yet the city will not take full delivery of these busses by the end of the financial year. This expenditure was dramatically done in a month,” said Sotashe.

“The city claims to have spent R57,7-million on feeder stations for the IRT (integrated rapid transport) in Adderley Street (in central Cape Town), yet they are saying the project is in design phase.

“There are no road works to show for this and officials have confirmed this money hasn’t been spent.”

City officials yesterday said construction work in Adderley and Riebeek streets would begin only this month. This would result in various road closures while the city expands its MyCiTi bus service, part of the IRT.

Sotashe added: “The N2 express service to Mitchells Plain tender of R12,7-million was awarded on 24 June. Within five days of awarding the tender, the city claims to have spent R5,4-million of the budgeted R12,7-million.”

“The ANC has uncovered other discrepancies in other departments of the city and will continue to expose these to the public.”

Sotashe said the ANC would also “continue its investigations and interrogation of the budget and approach the auditor-general and public protector to take the matter further”.

De Lille defended her budget yesterday with graphs indicating how her expenses have increased, meaning that she has delivered services in the city.

She said electricity provision expenditure rose 287% from the financial year 2006/07 to 2012/13.
Her budget allocation for 2012/13 indicates though that the city’s budget includes funds allocated to services that have not yet been delivered.

De Lille said she had spent R14,3-million to install 1,300 flush toilets in a range of informal settlements. While the money has been allocated, the toilets have not yet been delivered.

Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utilities, said R14,3-million would not be the cost of only the toilets but also “connecting those toilets to the main infrastructure”.

Tony Ehrenreich, the ANC caucus leader in the city legislature, called De Lille a “charlatan”.
He and Sotashe, as ANC representatives in the city council, had meanwhile been called to face disciplinary action for their public utterances against De Lille after her budget was issued.

They had told the media her budget was “blatant lies”.

Ehrenreich said yesterday: “This (city) council is hell-bent on silencing the opposition.”
He said De Lille’s plan to release unaudited budget figures was part of an election ploy for the Democratic Alliance which rules the city and provincial government.

“It’s backfired on her. It shows she’s as useless as other DA leaders before her. She’s going to expose herself to the community for not being able to deliver,” said Ehrenreich. He said over the last few years of DA rule the city has “spent only about 70% of its annual budget”.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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