Joburg gets qualified audit... again

2012-01-26 12:02

Johannesburg’s finances are in a mess.

The city has failed to provide correct information to Auditor-General Terrence Nombembe on how it has spent its R29 billion budget.

In a scathing audit report for the 2010/11 financial year, Nombembe found that City Power and Johannesburg Water, which both account for more than half of Johannesburg’s revenue, had material differences between billing data and data from meter readings.

“I was unable to verify the accuracy, cut-off, completeness and occurrence of differences included in the amount of R15.2 billion relating to revenue for the supply of electricity and water,” Nombembe said.

The country’s economic hub released its 2010/11 yearly report today and it received its second successive qualified audit.

About 22 000 households, who have been in arrears for more than 90 days, have had their services cut off in the past three months.

There have been 109 000 queries on accounts, including 56 000 on billing.

Johannesburg was hit by a billing crisis last year after its new information technology system issued incorrect statements.

The city’s chief operating officer Gerald Dumas has promised to address the billing crisis by end of June.

Nombembe has also expressed concern about Johannesburg’s refuse collection company, Pikitup, whose liabilities (R363 million) exceed assets (R353 million) by more than R10 million.

Nombembe has raised concerns about the municipality’s water billing, which he says is estimated for longer than six months, which is in contravention of water bylaws.

However, city manager Trevor Fowler promised to resolve Nombembe’s concerns and deliver a clean audit by 2014.

Fowler also promised that a new chief financial officer would be appointed in the next two months. “We did interviews but we’re going to headhunt.”

Lungelwa Sonqishe is the acting finance head.

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