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ACDP refuses to support Bay's R10.3 billion irregular expenditure write off

Jun 20, 2019
ACDP refuses to support Bay's R10.3 billion irregular expenditure write off

Port Elizabeth - African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Councillor, Lance Grootboom, said that he did not support an item tabled at a special Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) meeting held on Wednesday, which sought the MPAC to write off R10.3 billion in limitation of scope amounts and irregular expenditure.

He said that the meeting was called as a result of the meeting to deal with the same item collapsing the day before due to the inability of the MPAC to reach consensus on appointing an Acting Chairperson.

Grootboom said the item does not fully comply with the legislated prescripts in dealing with writing off of irregular expenditure. In terms of legislation, a write off can only occur after an investigation by a committee (in this case MPAC) of council has found that the expenditure cannot be recovered.

He further said that the item before the committee seeks MPAC’s approval to write off these amounts prior to an investigation and prior to us knowing whether ie. “the bridge was built or not and whether we received value for our money. This is a blanket write off.

"We need to ask ourselves, have we done due diligence? We are writing off without knowledge of whether we have any chance of recovery, and in terms of our own policy, writing off is subordinate to recovery”.

While the ANC, EFF and UDM voted in favour of the proposed write off, the ACDP and DA refused to support the item in its current guise, sighting amongst others, concerns over the costs involved with using a Special Disciplinary Board to deal with these items.

The item received sufficient support to pass through the MPAC, in order to be presented to Council before the end of June 2019 for Council to approve the write off.

Without Councils approval by the end of the financial year, the NMBM will again be the municipality with the highest irregular expenditure in the country.

Grootboom said that while he fully supports and understands the need to deal with this swiftly, as this was an item on the MPAC agenda while he was still MPAC Chairperson, this should not result in the NMBM being found to have operated outside the law, as this will result in the NMBM being a bigger predicament than before.

“We are guided by the law, and I will not allow this institution to break the law to try to save face. We will deal with this item correctly”.

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