FORGET the frills, like Mercedes-Benzes, and stick to the basics, like service delivery. This is Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's message to municipalities across the country.
Briefing journalists in Cape Town yesterday on the newly released Local Government Budgets and Spending Review 2011, the minister said officials and politicians should ease up on the gravy so the national fiscus could weather the global economic storms.
Given the global economic climate, he said, municipalities should be doing more to improve the quality of their spending - Treasury code for cutting down on waste - and focus on delivering better services to residents.
"What this means is that municipalities need to focus on delivering services, building their capacity, building economic infrastructure, investing the right amount in capital expenditure [bar] and forget the frills, whether those frills are brand-new Mercedes-Benzes or something like that," he urged.
"That would make a significant contribution to enabling [bar] the national fiscus to cope with some of the stresses and strains of the very uncertain economic environment in which we are living."
The City of Cape Town, for one, has come under criticism from the ANC for not using its strong financial position to borrow more funds to finance infrastructure.
Rating agency Moody's International has given the city a double-A rating, the top rating out of all five of the country's metros. …