News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday January 23rd 2018

Philippi residents demand budget information

Philippi ward 33 councillor Monwabisi Mbaliswano, who faced residents anger in the 2006 local government elections is now being held to account over his budgetary spending. Photo: Steve Kretzmann/WCN

Holding city officials accountable at grass-roots level where service delivery is most tangible, residents of two Cape Town wards are demanding to know from their ward councillors exactly how their R500 000 budget allocations from the city have been spent.While sporadic but ongoing service delivery protests have been taking place this month, residents are also holding their ward councillors to account.

During meetings over the past week in Philippi’s wards 33 and 34 where councillors tabled their 2010/2011 budgets, residents demanded to be provided with the actual expenditure of the 2009/10-budget allocation before they would agree to the current budget.

In ward 34 councillor Fikiswa Nkunzana watched 250 of the 300 residents who attended the meeting booed her and the ward forum committee on Thursday last week before walking out in protest over her inability to explain how the 2009/2010 budget was spent.

Nkunzana’s pleas that she was new on the job and that the community’s concerns needed to be raised with members of the executive committee who were in office prior to her appointment following thea August by-election were ignored.

The absence of the area subcouncil manager Lunga Bobo did not help matters.

“If we don’t approve the budget allocation the City will take it back. Please stay for the meeting,” pleaded Nkunzana as the residents aborted the meeting.

Part of the residents demands were that job creation projects, electricity, water, sanitation and housing should be priority-spending areas.

At the ward 33 meeting on the same day, where Monwabisi Mbaliswano is councillor, residents claimed the R500 000 provided by the city was being spent on frivolities such as end-of-year parties instead of job creation projects.

The approximately 200 residents present claimed that some of the projects budgeted for in the 2009/10 budget were never implemented and they wanted to know what happened to money set aside for them.

Mbaliswano said government officials needed to consult with the residents and explain to them the meaning of the ward allocation budget and how it is supposed to be handled.

Both meetings were postponed until the subcouncil can meet to explain how the 2009/2010 budgets were spent.

Ward 34 resident Khaya Mateyise said he was unhappy that money appeared to have been spent on “Christmas shopping”.

“It is said that too much money was spent on Christmas presents for the elderly instead of spending money on projects that would benefit the whole of the community.

“Tens of thousands of rands were misspent and we want answers. We cannot go forward and table next year’s money when we have not properly dealt with this year’s money,” said Mateyise.

Ward 33 resident Mkhuseli Khuzwayo said he had told the ward forum members that over half the 2009/10 budgets had been misspent and answers were needed. Subcouncil manager Lunga Bobo reffered all questions to City’s media spokesperson Charles Cooper.

Cooper had not responded by the time of going to print. – West Cape News

Tags: cape news, cape town, DA, Housing, ngo, philippi, protests, sanitation, service delivery, ward councillor

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