The South African national government has made available more than R5 billion in support to municipalities to assist them in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2019/20 municipal financial year.
The support will assist municipalities provide additional access to basic services for vulnerable communities during the lockdown and to sanitize public transport facilities as the economy undergoes a phased re-opening.
“The largest amounts have been made available through the reallocation of conditional grant funds already allocated to municipalities in 2019/20. While the 2019/20 national and provincial financial years ended on 31 March 2020, the municipal financial year runs until 30 June 2020,” said Treasury in a statement on Tuesday.
This said Treasury, means that grant funds transferred from national government before the end of March 2020, still have another three months to be spent by municipalities.
“National Treasury has granted approvals that funds transferred to municipalities but not contractually committed can be reallocated to be used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
These reallocations approved in terms of section 20(6) of the Division of Revenue Act, 2019, include:
· R2.4 billion in Urban Settlements Development Grant allocations to metropolitan municipalities. These funds will be used for providing water and sanitation, mainly in under-serviced informal settlements and to cover the increased costs of more frequent waste management and other services.
· R1.5 billion in Municipal Infrastructure Grant allocations can be reallocated for the provision of water and sanitation, including where urgent maintenance is needed to restore the functionality of water infrastructure.
· R970 million in Public Transport Network Grant allocations may be reallocated, mainly for sanitisation of public transport facilities.
· R306 million in the indirect Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant was reallocated at the end of the 2019/20 national financial year and transferred to Rand Water to fund the roll-out of water tanks to supply communities without reliable access to water services.