THE cash-strapped Redcliff local authority has failed to meet the 2015 budget submission deadline of January 26, set by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.
Mayor Freddy Kapuya said council was still battling with finalising the strategic plan for Redcliff, which needed to be submitted together with the budget.
“We have not yet submitted our budget because we are working on the strategic plan, which has to be submitted together with the budget and I am sure it will be completed this week,” he said.
Chombo has warned councils against implementing budgets, which would not have been approved by his office, saying it would be illegal to do so.
Redcliff submitted an unchanged budget from 2014, which seeks to raise $12 million in revenue from a community, which is smarting from effects of the collapse of steel making giant Ziscosteel.
The local authority, which is owed $14 million by industry and residents, also carries a burden of over $8 million in debts, which include employee salaries and wages.
“We owe our workers salaries backdated to 12 months and we have continued to engage them to ensure that they do not stage industrial action or court action to recover their money,” Kapuya said.
Finance committee chairperson, Clayton Masiyatsva, was, however, singing a different tune, saying his budget was submitted late December 2014 and was now awaiting response from Chombo.
He said the budget was in line with the 30% salaries to 70% service delivery ratio set by the parent ministry.
“We have avoided adjusting salaries of our managers and as a result we have been able to keep within the ratios set for us by ministry,” he said.
“We are, therefore, hopeful that our budget will be approved,” he said.
Kapuya, however, said in the absence of the revival of Ziscosteel, no meaningful development would take place in the town.