Municipal bosses agree to be fired for poor audit outcomes

2013-09-26 12:59

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Mpumalanga’s 21 municipal bosses have now signed on the dotted line to be sacked with immediate effect should they get disclaimers of opinion from the Auditor-General.

This confirms Premier David Mabuza’s verbal instruction he issued in February that municipal managers who get bad audit reports should voluntarily step down or face being fired.

It was only the municipal manager of Msukaligwa, Thami Dlamini, who resigned based on this verbal instruction when the 2011/12 audit reports were released last month.

The Bushbuckridge, Nkomazi (Malalane), Lekwa (Standerton) and Thaba Chweu (Lydenburg) municipalities also received disclaimers but their managers did not resign.

Most of them told City Press they were new in their jobs and were not responsible for the poor administration.

A disclaimer of opinion is given to an institution when auditors are not given the documents required to express an audit opinion, which can mean evidence of corruption is being concealed.

Mabuza’s spokesperson, Zibonele Mncwango, said that the managers submitted their letters yesterday afternoon in the presence of representatives from the national department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) during the sitting of the premier’s coordinating forum.

“The managers committed themselves (to) improve their work and, in the event they get the disclaimers, they voluntary allow the authorities to release them from duty with immediate effect,” Mncwango said.

“The commitment letters already have the signatures of the municipal managers but have no dates. The dates would only be filled in once the municipal manager has received a disclaimer,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mabuza announced that a support team comprising officials from Mpumalanga Cogta, Treasury and Ehlanzeni district municipality would be sent to assist the collapsing Thaba Chweu.

Thaba Chweu owes Eskom R147 million for electricity and has been using municipal infrastructure grants to pay salaries.

Other worst-performing municipalities, like Bushbuckrudge and Emalahleni, have been placed under administration.

The discrepancies in Mabuza’s interventions in municipalities have caused opposition parties to condemn him for implementing “selective and half-baked interventions”, while ANC insiders said he was settling political scores.

Mabuza also instituted investigations into the Mbombela municipality and the Nkangala district municipality, which are not among the worst performers.

Mncwango, however, defended Mabuza.

“The team that has been sent to Thaba Chweu will advise what needs to be done. It must be remembered that it’s also expensive to put a municipality under administration,” Mncwango said.

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