By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – Maluti-A-Phofung local municipality council has finally approved the 2022/2023 budget unanimously ahead of the June 30 deadline, thereby averting the risk of being dissolved.
This after the initial budget tabled on June 15 failed to pass due to failure to quorate. Only 34 councillors voted for approval while 31 voted against .Maluti -A-Phofung consists of 70 councillors therefore for budget to pass , 36 votes are required, a 50 percent plus one .
This budget adoption comes after a negotiation meeting that was convened by the council chief whip, Moeketsi Lebesa prior to the budget, whereby some political parties which did not agree with the contents of the budget were persuaded and proposed that council establish a multiparty committee made up of councillors from various political parties, which will aggressively monitor the implementation of the financial recovery plan and play oversight role, in return for passing the budget.
However, opposition parties such as the ACM and the ANC argued that they were more than willing to go to by-elections should they fail to reach an agreement.
ANC leader in the council, Mandlenkosi Dlamini said they adopted this stance for the good benefit of the MAP community.
“If we couldn’t agree on the formation of the multiparty committee, Cogta would have no choice but to invoke section 139(c) which means this municipality would be dissolved. And we were not scared to go for by-elections in all 35 wards,” Dlamini said.
Tumelo Thulo of ACM echoed the same sentiments saying, “This is the same budget we rejected on the 15th, but since we have agreed on certain terms and conditions, we agreed to pass it. We were prepared to go back to the ground if we failed to reach a common understanding,” Thulo added.
Meanwhile, MMC for Finance Azael Nhlapo said the council would have been dissolved if councillors did not reach an agreement to pass the budget. He said “all councillors had ample time to present their objections and debate the issues relating to the budget speech contents prior to its initial tabling,” Nhlapo said.
The Council adopted a R2 billion budget for the 2022/2023 financial year.
In his budget address, Executive Mayor Gilbert Mokotso previously described the budget as laying a foundation for rebuilding the municipality.