South East District Council (SEDC) chairperson, Phenyo Segokgo has raised a complaint over the allocated restrictive budget saying it is not enough to cater for maintenance needs in his jurisdiction.
Segokgo was addressing his last full council meeting yesterday in Ramotswa when he highlighted that though the council’s budget was recurrent, it was also restrictive.
“This meagre budget allocation has resulted in a backlog of maintenance of council facilities. However, with the little budget over the years council has tried to fight this backlog, but this has not eliminated the existing backlog that came as a result of the inadequate annual average allocations that the council ran on for several years.
Due to this backlog council buildings have extremely dilapidated,” Segokgo said, adding that the budget has been recurring over the last five years.
He said areas in need of maintenance include worn-out educational facilities (teacher’s houses and primary schools) and worn-out and out-dated council staff houses.
He continued: “Some houses are vacant because they are not habitable due to lack of funds for maintenance. You will note that this impacts negatively not only on the income for the council but also on the welfare of employees who end up renting private houses at much higher cost than council rental rates, resulting in lower take home income”.
Segokgo said it is hoped that with the proposed maintenance budget for the financial year 2020-2021 capital budget, council would be able to carry out maintenance works on most of its schools and houses, which have not been attended to over the years due to the low budget allocation.
He, however, mentioned that the allocation would not take care of the maintenance backlog.
The chairperson said the council facilities require major maintenance because they have not had any cyclic maintenance since construction, which is not a good practice.
“The ceiling for the previous financial years has not been reflecting the real need for facilities due to budget cuts.
Ladies and gentlemen, our success in the implementation of projects over the past five years has not come without challenges. Some of the major challenges were the contractors themselves,” he said.
He said some suppliers, particularly the local ones are failing to meet the demands of the contractors engaged thereby leading to the importation of building materials from outside the district.