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[LISTEN] Northwest Province to Return R17 Billion to Treasury

Umm Muhammed Umar

One of the provinces with the worst service delivery records in the country, Northwest Province, may have to return R17 billion of a total combined budget of R57.4 billion to the National Treasury. This was as its departments have failed to spend the money, leaving many citizens in dire straits. Radio Islam spoke to political analyst Dirk Kotze.

Kotze said that in South Africa, the fiscal system is that we pay our tax to SARS. From there it goes to the national government, and the national budget is then compiled. He said, “Provinces and local governments don’t have the same type of revenue in the form of tax income tax, and therefore they depend to a large extent on the national budget that allocate budgets to the provinces, and from the provinces again to the municipalities.” He added, “So that means that this is money that comes from the national budget that was drawn over to the provinces and they didn’t use that money. So that is why is in the end, all unused budgets are returned.”

Provincial departments were, however, apparently accountable to the provincial legislator. There are provincial legislators in all nine provinces, consisting of elected members. Kotze said, “these members of the provincial legislatures; provincial parliament, they in the first instance is responsible to make sure that provincial executive account to them.” He further explained that the same was applicable to every provincial Treasury, saying they work very closely with the National Treasury. The National Treasury is really the watchdog over how the provinces spend their money.”

The Northwest had been placed under administration, but it seems that the administrators also failed to manage their budget. Kotze said that if provincial departments could not fulfil their functions, and if there was instability and they simply could fulfil their tasks in a proper way, then certain departments or even their whole government could be put under administration, by the national government. Unfortunately, Kotze added, “So there is this mechanism, but, for example, as in Tswane, which was put under administration in in 2021, it was a disaster on the administration side, so, it’s not necessarily an improvement on the situation.”




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