Durban – KwaZulu-Natal has spent 3.196 billion rand fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, mostly through its municipalities and government departments to fund infrastructure development, according to an interim report from the National Treasury published to the province.
Deputy Director General of the Provincial Treasury Santanu Moodley gave an overview of the report to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) during an online meeting of the provincial legislature on Tuesday. The report highlighted Covid-19 spending of 54 municipalities, government departments and public entities since the start of the pandemic. It is mandatory, in accordance with National Treasury Instruction Note 11 of 20/21, that provinces report Covid-19 expenditure to the National Treasury on a monthly basis.
Moodley said that, according to the report, all 54 municipalities submitted their Covid-19 report templates by November 6, but only 60% complied with the requirement to list not only the amount spent, but the details items purchased. He said spending provided by municipalities has yet to be verified and the National Treasury is still verifying the validity of the information.
“The National Treasury will issue an official report in due course after a full audit of all spending,” Moodley said.
According to the interim report, government departments, whose biggest spenders were the health and education departments, spent R2 317,804,706, while municipalities spent R 870 million and public entities spent R 9,046,567 , i.e. a total provincial expenditure of 3,196,851,273 as of October 31, 2020.
Moodley said eThekwini Municipality reported the highest municipal spending, totaling R468.1 million, followed by King Cetshwayo District, which spent R109.7 million, District Municipality of uMkhanyakude, which spent 54.4 million rand, and the local municipality of Msunduzí and the district municipality of Zululand, which reported expenditures of R24m and R23.5m respectively.
“In total, 10 municipalities account for the bulk of the reported Covid-19 spending in the province (for municipalities), which totals R 765.5 million and constitutes 87% of the total reported spending,” he said.
Ministries and state-owned enterprises spent mainly on infrastructure at the rate of R242 billion; hand disinfectants and disinfectants at R253m; three-layer cloth masks at R147m; digital thermometers at R93m and surgical masks for health workers at R86m.
Some of the infrastructure developments listed included changes to the value of R232m at Clairwood Hospital; R96.9m at GJ Crookes Hospital in Scottburgh and R83m at Richmond Chest Hospital.
KZN was among the province’s three biggest spenders, second only to Gauteng and followed by the Western Cape and Eastern Cape as the third and fourth major spenders. At the municipal level, the municipality of eThekwini was in third place and spent less than the municipalities of Cape Town and Tshwane alone.
The KZN entities that spent the most were Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife; Trade and investment KZN; Shark Council KZN; KZN Liquor Authority; Legislature; KZN Gaming and Betting Board followed by the KZN Agri-business Development Agency and the KZN Film Commission.
DA MLP Francois Rodgers told the committee that Scopa should receive a list of municipalities and entities that have not complied with the reporting specifications.
“While there is good information, it only seems like a checkbox exercise. I’m a little worried… we noticed that some departments and entities provided incorrect information and used the wrong format to provide information. Why don’t we get a list of those who are not compliant? “
ANC MPL and Scopa President Maggie Govender agreed that a list of non-compliant entities should be provided.