Here’s the miracle solution

2014-08-03 15:00

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The ANC released a statement this week noting improvements in the performance of audited municipalities after the Auditor- General (AG) released his report.

The statement was clearly prepared in advance to downplay the shocking state of municipalities as painted by the AG.

It is impossible to speak of improvements when just 30 out of 319 audited municipalities and entities received a clean audit nationwide.

There is no improvement when in four provinces?–?Limpopo, North West, Free State and Eastern Cape?–?none of their municipalities got a clean audit.

It is incredible that R3.6?billion of taxpayers’ money can just disappear. The money has been spent, but there is nothing to show and nothing to prove what it was used for.

While presenting his report, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu highlighted the issue of political will. Decoded, this means most of the highlighted problems could be fixed if the political principals wanted to put effort into it.

The regulations concerning local government expenditure are clearly spelt out and they should not be difficult to comply with.

But where incompetence leads to the inability to comply, it appears there are no consequences for officials who are often ANC office bearers and are supported by powerful constituencies.

Numerous government interventions, including Project Consolidate and the turnaround strategy, have failed to provide the magical solutions.

This must come from a change of attitude among political leaders in municipalities who need to do more to ensure the officials they employ act in accordance with the law or walk the plank.

They must have the courage to cancel the contracts of businesspeople who are paid huge amounts of money, but do not deliver as per their contracts.

New Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan has been hailed as the perfect man to stop the rot.

But he is not going to bring the miracle solutions unless political parties take a tougher stance on those they deploy to these councils.

We will be stuck with these bleak situations and dismal yearly reports until political parties own up to these problems instead of noting “improvements” in a disastrous local government.

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