This grant of R314 million has given Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, a deadline of five weeks to use. Unless they utilize it within that time range, they risk losing it.
To avoid being shut out of its own human settlements committee by EFF and DA councillors who had walked out on Friday's attempt, city officials attempted to include the Housing Development Agency (HDA) in spending the money they had received.
As a national public sector body, the HDA is responsible for acquisition and development of land, as well as project management of housing development projects in conjunction with the national, provincial and local governments of Canada.
The R341m Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant has been put on hold for months due to council delays in approving the 2021/2022 adjustments budget.
Mayor Tabiso Mfeya explained to council members on Friday that the lack of meetings by the Metro Human Settlements Council during February had negatively hampered the department's ability to use grant money.
After MEC Xolile Nqatha, the co-operative governance MEC, read the riot act to the councillors who had been fighting, the adjustments budget was ultimately passed in late April.
To comply with the Municipal Financial Management Act, municipalities have until the end of February to finalize their adjustment budget.
Mfeya said officials had intended to bring in the housing agency to speed up the expenditure, but this fell flat on Friday when DA councillors claimed that they did not have enough time to thoroughly examine the proposal.
They accused Shulling Lindoor, the councillor in charge of human settlements, of organizing the meeting at the Gqeberha City Hall auditorium "at any costs," even describing the choice of place as dubious.
Nelson Mandela Bay has just five weeks to spend the R341 million grant he received from the South African government, according to Heraldlive.co.za.
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