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What an unfunded budget means for Mafube

Mafube Business Forum (MBF) warned in a media statement that "On May 24, the municipal council will probably again illegally approve an unfunded annual budget."

MBF was not completely wrong then, except for the date of the meeting which was unexpectedly and without notice to the public, brought forward to Thursday 23 May! The actual meeting date does not bother too much, but what worries MBF, as well as the community of Mafube, is that the Council and administration at Mafube Local Municipality (MPM), continue on this destructive path with disregard for mandatory processes in relation to the Municipal Financial Management Act, 56 of 2003 (MFMA), Treasury Guidelines, CoGTA circulars and the Instruction of the Provincial Executive Representative. As MBF warned, “The budget will once again be unfunded, with no consequences for the officials and Council of Mafube. Nor for the provincial authorities who stand with their arms folded."

Photo: Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana and Minister of collaborative government and traditional affairs (Cogta) Thembi Nkadimeng talks about municipal policy issues.

"The only consequences will be for the community of Mafube, who will continue to suffer from the consequences of poor service delivery."

"Residents are forced to live with sewage bubbling up in the open, water shortages and roads riddled with potholes, yet municipal budgets are full of references to "community engagement imbizos".

These were the sentiments of CoGTA Minister Thembi Nkadimeng when she spoke about the state of municipalities at the District Development Model (DDM) conference in July 2023. Nkadimeng said there were 168 municipalities with unfunded budgets for the 2023/4 financial year. She found the budgets had "community commitments" and did not prioritize basic service delivery needs. An unfunded budget means that a municipality made a financial commitment for projects, but did not have the money for them, leading to increasing debt.

"What's even worse about these unfunded budgets is that nothing is channeled into [improving] roads, better water supply, nothing is channeled into what you think is tangible and needed by community members." "There is boiling/bubbling sewage in the street and there are no roads."

The minister blamed municipal councils for approving unfunded budgets and corruption in municipalities, saying it thrives because: 1) officials do not report fraud; and 2) mismanagement of funds in local government continues, even if there is a financial management framework that must be followed.

MBF expresses the hope that this unfunded budget of MPM will be addressed and has a letter in this regard addressed to the Free State MEC and CoGTA minister.

MBF invites residents, business owners and taxpayers to visit our offices at 18A Church Street, Frankfort To visit Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays 08h30 to 12h00. Call or send a WhatsApp message to Marina on 079 145 4295. Visit our website and follow us Facebook.

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