Millions of rands to run JB Marks merger depleted

Funds amounting to R13 million to run the merger between Tlokwe and Ventersdorp municipalities, now called the J.B. Marks Municipality, have all been depleted.

During an SABC interview, the J.B. Marks mayoral spokesperson, Victor Boqo said an amount of R13 million was allocated for these two municipalities to fund the process of amalgamation, including the rebranding of the new municipality.
‘Now that the money is finished, we must once again write to the national treasury and submit a new business plan so that we can embark on the second process of running the amalgamation,’ he said.
The Herald asked Willie Maphosa, the council spokesperson, to shed more light on this surprising development and give a breakdown of what the money was used for.
Maphosa says the R13 million allocated for the amalgamation of the erstwhile municipalities of Tlokwe and Ventersdorp has been expended on exactly what it was budgeted for.
‘The money was released only as per a detailed, properly planned and costed programme,’ he said. He added that the money has also been properly accounted for on an ongoing basis and periodically to the National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. ‘We are now at the stage where an overall final report will be presented to the department,’ he said.
‘All the projects that were planned for the successful amalgamation have been completed and these include the consolidation of records, the development of a new organogram, the alignment of geographic information system data, the reconfiguration of information technology systems and financial systems, merging asset registers and the transitional costs relating to existing personnel, including salary equalisation.
‘Communication and public participation formed only a small part of a major initiative with a sizeable financial implication. The launch ceremony of the municipality’s corporate identity, in particular, was organised on a very low budget with the most costly items being the sound system and catering, neither of which exceeded R80 000. The occasion was a legitimate municipal event approved by a full council sitting and not a party as some would want people to believe,’ said Maphosa.
The municipal spokesperson says he is satisfied that all the amalgamation funds have been used properly and for what they were intended.
‘The amalgamation task team is in the process of compiling a final report with the related cost breakdown for the department and council. This may be made public once these structures have received the report,’ he concluded.

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