Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says she has National Treasury’s approval to redirect funds within her nearly R16 billion budget for regional bulk water infrastructure, to pay money owed to contractors.
Her department’s R15.1 billion budget is being debated in Parliament.
Mokonyane’s blamed the worst drought in more than a century as a major contributor to the financial pressures in her department.
Briefing journalists ahead of the debate, the minister defended her budget, saying relations with National Treasury have much improved since new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba took over.
But the state of her department’s finances came under fire in the house.
The Democratic Alliance’s Tania Baker says there’s a serious disconnect between the department’s planning and its budget processes.
“So, when the Department of Water and Sanitation overspends its budget by R18m but only achieves 43% of its targets, we should be very concerned.”
Mokonyane says her department has often had to intervene in municipalities in crisis and use its own budget, and that it then becomes a struggle to recover the money.