Big pay, but no results

2013-09-16 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL parliamentarians expressed their shock that despite the Umzinyathi District Municipality employing the services of a senior finance consultant, there is no improvement in their finances.

This emerged when the municipal manager Mduduzi Mngomezulu and consulting chief finance officer Bongani Mdletshe of Umzinyathi District Municipality appeared before the joint sitting of the finance and co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) portfolio committee last Thursday.

The joint committee heard earlier that Mdletshe had been a consultant CFO since January 2008, and yet the finances of the municipality were in a shambles.

The municipality’s finances were placed under administration by Cogta earlier this year when it experienced financial problems.

After failing to answer various questions posed by the committee, the two officials were ordered by committee chairperson Belinda Scott to return later this month, together with their mayor James Mthethwa, and provide the information needed.

On the issue of financial assistance, the committee was told that the municipality was too reliant on conditional grants, rather than generating its own revenue, and that it once spent its reserves before applying for a loan to cover service delivery issues, among other things.

A report by Treasury tabled to the committee, said the municipality regressed from a clean audit opinion obtained in 2010/11 to a disclaimer in 2011/12 when the auditor-general could not find supporting documents on how the council spent its finances.

The report by provincial Treasury said the actual expenditure of R31,7 million exceeded the budgeted R29,8 million.

Besides hiring a consultant CFO, the council had hired a VAT specialist, debt collector, and municipal governance and administration specialist where the tender processes appeared to have been flouted.

Joey Krishnan, general manager for municipal finance for Cogta, said the municipality’s poor audit performance was despite its employing a consultant for over five years.

After IFP’s Lionel Mtshali asked what a consultant CFO was, the ANC’s Sipho Nkosi also questioned the effectiveness of the post.

Krishnan said Cogta had since ordered the municipality to cancel the contract. The position has been advertised and interviews should be conducted shortly, she said.

DA member George Mari said it was shocking that the consultant CFO and deputy municipal manager earned more than the municipal manager, and yet the cash-strapped municipality had no revenue base.

Mngomezulu’s report to the committee showed he earned R1 021 399 annually, while Mdletshe and deputy manager pocketed R1,3 million and R1,1 million respectively per year.

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