The City of Cape Town has responded to a statement made by Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, where she blamed the City for not using funds allocated by her department to provide basic services to the communities in the informal settlements of Khayelitsha.
The Minister stated that in March 2023, she transferred an amount of R111 million to the City of Cape Town to speed up service delivery interventions.
She said the funds were specifically ring-fenced to provide the services for the 16 informal settlements and to address the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) railway line relocations, after the City said it had no funds.
“The City has, however, since indicated it would be difficult to spend the funds provided by the Department of Human Settlements, citing it was almost the end of the financial year. I cannot work with excuses while our people are suffering,” said the Minister.
In its response, the City explained that it would be impossible to spend the R111m received on 30 March in the remaining weeks of the financial year ending in June 2023, “due to the time required to meet planning and procurement regulations.”
It further indicated that it is not clear whether rollover permission has now been secured from National Treasury to which the City Mayor had written a letter.
“If it has been secured, we urge Minister Kubayi to confirm this in writing,” said the City.
“If the National Treasury has not granted a rollover, then it would seem the Minister is trying to publicly pressure the City into spending unlawfully. This kind of approach to public spending is why local government finances in the rest of South Africa are in such a mess. The City will resist these pressures and make sure that every Rand we spend is done so lawfully.
“The City cannot lawfully use the R111m allocation for programmes before June 2023, and it cannot lawfully use it in the next financial year without rollover permission,” it explained.
Last week, Kubayi and her Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete convened a community imbizo, held at Tusong Multi-Purpose Centre in Khayelitsha, to provide feedback on the provision of basic services.
Addressing the community, including leaders from various informal settlements, Kubayi expressed her disappointment with the lack of progress in the provision of services, including water and sanitation.
“I am frustrated and today, I am announcing that if they can’t do it then the agency of Human Settlements, the Housing Development Agency (HDA), will now be responsible for the provision of these services,” she indicated.