The African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in council are again at loggerheads over the city's capital budget expenditure.

Yesterday, the ANC called on mayor Patricia De Lille to fire her deputy, Ian Neilson, alleging he had misled the public by stating the city had spent 91,4% of its capital budget for the 2011-12 financial year.

In a press briefing earlier this week, which was also attended by Ms De Lille, Mr Neilson - also the city's head of finance - said Cape Town had spent 91,4% of its R4,5bn capital budget for the financial year ending last month. However, the ANC said yesterday a closer analysis of the figures it obtained revealed the city had spent only 73% of its budget.

The ANC in council has been a constant thorn on the side of the DA-led city administration, criticising almost every move city authorities make. Last year, the issue of underspending also became a hot political issue after the city managed to spend only 71,5% of its capital budget.

ANC chief whip in council Xolani Sotashe said yesterday the party would raise the issue of "distorted" financial figures and underspending with the auditor-general, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi, as well as the Presidency.

"We are taking this issue very seriously this time around . heads must roll . there needs to be direct intervention from central government. We have forwarded all this information to the president."

He said on examining the figures for some of the individual directorates, it was "clear" the city was underspending, especially on areas which "directly affected the poor".

"The human settlements directorate's approved budget was R751m, which was reduced to R553m, and actual expenditure was R490m, a mere 65% expenditure against 88,6% as claimed by the deputy mayor ," Mr Sotashe said.

"Transport, roads and storm water's approved budget was R1,9bn, and reduced by 26% to R1,4bn. Against the approved budget the performance was a mere 63%, not 86,3% as claimed by Mr Neilson..

"The facts, figures and documents again disprove the DA's spin and lies . Neilson failed his fiduciary position and misled the public on the city's finances," he said.

"De Lille knows that Neilson is useless, but it is not easy for her to fire him because she has to first convince the iron lady from Wale Street (Helen Zille)," Mr Sotashe said.

Mr Neilson hit back yesterday, saying Mr Sotashe was rushing to score political points. He said the ANC had "made the elementary mistake of mixing up their calculations based on two entirely different budgets". He said the ANC's questioning of the budget adjustments showed the party's lack of understanding of how city finances worked.

"Before they embarrass themselves again, the ANC would be well advised to check their facts before making spurious allegations," Mr Neilson said.

phakathib@bdfm.co.za