DOCRRA Comments: FEEDBACK ON KDM Draft Annual Report 2019/2020

DOCRRA Chairman, Deon Viljoen, read and analyzed the feedback on the Draft Annual report for 2019/2020, presented by the Mayor on 28 January 2021.

Please note that:

  • The report does not yet include the audited financials for 2019/2020 nor did it have the mid-term results for 2020/21
  • During this reporting period, there were 3 months of Covid-19 Lockdown or 25% of the year.

 

He was pleased with the honesty and transparency in the report and believe it has been verified by the Auditor General. This is really hanging out the dirty washing for all to see. It is also evident that our, and the community’s comments and feedback, has been noticed and recorded.

There are many sections in the report that do not pertain directly to us on the Dolphin Coast. For example, schools, libraries, sports, youth development, gender and other local community issues. Yet everything else appears to be there, e.g., roads, streetlights, waste, storm water, environmental issues, agreed-to-KPA goals, governance (and the lack thereof), delivery of basic services and more. However, there are several reports missing still. Sadly, from Electricity, Economic Development, Air pollution and some others.

There 29 wards and 37 odd councilors. And only two thirds of the councilors are elected. There are approximately 230 ward committee members and a big concern, highlighted, is the inefficiency of many of the ward committees. There is an Exco which seems to be where most the strategic and operational work gets done. They meet much more frequently.

Deon’s key takeout from the report include:

  • Outstanding debt to KDM has increased by 2,65% to R219M. The debt is alarmingly high, yet he was impressed that it only increased by such a small percentage considering 3 months of Lockdown in that year. Of concern is where could it go to in 2020/21?
  • He was also pleased with the revenue collection performance. The average of the 3 categories of revenue collection sits around the mid 90%. There have also been great results on the terminating of electricity supply to non-payers and illegal connections and this has yielded good income. Sadly, a surprising high percentage, around 40% of these, are businesses. The electricity department loses roughly 18% of its electricity and there is a strong drive to reduce this.
  • The delivery of basic services has increase by a whopping 11%. Sadly though, from an exceptionally low base. It increased from 36% to 47%.
  • Overall operational expenditure has increased by 1% of budget. This is positive, as last year was 86% and the year under review, 87%.
  • Once again capital expenditure does not get much traction and was underspent by 37% or R87M. We will have to wait for the analysis on the Financials to see the detail and get the figure for under spending on maintenance.
  • There is some definite action to improve irregular expenditure, to curb electricity theft and nonpayment, to improve and streamline procurement processes and to improve performance evaluation (more regular meetings and evaluation committees).
  • There are a myriad of committees and excellent plans. The plans are all there, and there is a commitment from senior leadership to have them implemented.
  • KDM really has a good handle on the financial management aspects -collections, provisions, reserves, cash flow, great reports and focus. So, planning and a stated commitment, with a strong financial support is half the battle won. One only needs implementation…….

 

However, here are the real issues:

  • The overall performance of KDM has decreased from 64% the year before, to 47% for the year under review. A 17% nominal decrease, however a 27% decrease on the previous 64%. It has made a low base of delivery and performance, so much worse. Looking at it in another way, in 2018/2019 the “efficiency” of the expenditure was 74%, and in 2019/2020, this same “efficiency” ratio is 54%. Sadly, there are also graphs that show this decrease has become a trend over the last 3 or 4 years.
  • From these figures, 87% of budget was spent however only 47% of the agreed KPA’s achieved. Based on my rudimentary “efficiency” calculation, one can argue that the productivity of the KDM team currently sits on average of around 50%. This means we are all only getting half of what we are paying for or looking at it in another way, we are paying double of what we are getting from KDM.

 

In conclusion:

Using a three-legged pot as a metaphor, we have two legs that are strong and supporting the pot, planning and finance, with the third leg at 50% (and decreasing) toppling the pot, implementation. Fortunately, this has been identified by at least the Mayor, and hopefully others, and there is a commitment (and many more plans) to remedy this. We also now know that rigorous, supportive, and constant community engagement, makes a difference (the only delivery area that has improved over the last year is basic services). We once again remind the reader that this is for the financial year ending June 2020. DOCRRA plays a key role in this community engagement process and we need to strengthen our resources to do even more. If we were looking for that elusive “silver bullet”, it will have to be “consequence management”.

DOCRRA remains committed to support the Dolphin Coast community by sharing relevant information, giving access for input and opinions, and exerting the influence of the Dolphin Coast community on KDM in particular, however also all relevant community structures and organisations. Of interest was the successful launch of the Dolphin Coast Outreach initiative and the close working relationship DOCRRA is fostering with The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).

We, DOCRRA, will continue to promote and protect the interests of all residents and ratepayers within the jurisdiction of the Dolphin Coast area. However, the more community representation and support we have, the more influence we have. Therefore, we urge you to become a member of DOCRRA.

For more information or to join and support DOCRRA, please go to www.docrra.co.za

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