BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
GOVERNMENT has reportedly released budgetary allocations to provincial councils, which are yet to be formally constituted in terms of the country’s Constitution.
Section 268 of the Constitution provides for devolution of power and setting up of provincial councils.
On Wednesday, MPs grilled Local Government deputy minister Marian Chombo over government’s release of funds to non-existent provincial councils.
Government is yet to craft a law to enable it to allocate devolution funds.
Chombo, however, tried to justify the budgetary allocations to provincial councils as allowances to councillors.
“It must be noted that the 2018 elections produced 10 councillors per province as provided for in Section 268 of the Sonstitution. These councillors need to be taken care of, hence they need to be paid allowances,” she said.
“Subventions being done to local authorities are guided by a formula which looks at infrastructure development (50%), poverty levels (30%) and population (20%). Local authorities received devolution funds and have since carried out various projects to address development gaps.”
But Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) questioned the rationale of releasing funds to non-existent provincial councils, saying the Constitution does not even provide for payment of councillors in non-existent provincial councils.
“We are not paying for sitting allowances, we are just paying an allowance because they were elected and they just have to make a living.”
Chombo said a Devolution Bill would soon be crafted, adding that the Provincial Councillors Bill would also sail through to ensure MPs are not part of provincial councils.
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