Anguish for municipal spenders after belt-tightening regs are gazetted

Mayors and municipal officials must have learned with shock about a brief that went out in the Government Gazette last week giving formal notice of new regulations that have stopped the gravy train in its tracks – at least in part.

According to new expense regulations announced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, the purse strings have been cut for business class flights both domestic and international, expense cars, lavish receptions featuring haute cuisine and top-shelf liquor.

The notice highlighted several “non-priority” expenses, include consultants, and added that all municipalities were expected to draw up a “cost containment plan”.

From now on no municipal politician will be entitled to a car costing more than R700 000 and nor they be entitled to replace their official wheels unless the car has done 120 000 kilometres.

Officials with entertainment allowances will also have to keep their annual expenses to R2000.

It is hoped that the belt-tightening measures will be welcomed by Moody’s Investor Service which has President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mboweni over a barrel, demanding that government expenses be slashed to sustain our sovereign debt rating at investment grade.

Moody’s is the last of the big three ratings agencies to still ‘root’ for South Africa after S&P Global and Fitch “junked” the country’s economy in 2017.

Several critics on Twitter have said that it’s “too little too late” since government has been talking about cutting municipal expense budgets for the last 16 years when the issue was first raised by Thabo Mbeki’s Parliament.

Since then 31% of municipalities across the country have been allowed to run themselves into the ground, mainly through financial mismanagement and malfeasance.


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