Clean audit for Msunduzi

2008-12-11 00:00

The Msunduzi Municipality has received a clean audit for the second year running.

This was announced at a full council sitting yesterday, when concerns were raised about forensic investigations, non-compliance with the law and matters of governance.

The Auditor-General’s (A-G) report found that the outcomes of a forensic investigation into the municipality by the Scorpions and a forensic investigation instituted by MEC for Local Government, Mike Mabuyakhulu, have not been finalised after more than a year after the investigations had been instituted.

But councillors were assured by municipal manager Rob Haswell that the resolution taken by the full council in October to implement disciplinary action against three employees who are fingered in the report is under way.

Further forensic investigations are being undertaken.

The report stated that there were also seven ongoing investigations into cheque fraud and other matters at the market and electricity and estates divisions and that result six employees have been fired.

Wendy Anderson of the A-G’s office said that although the municipality received an unqualified audit report, there are some aspects that the council has failed to address.

These include a risk management policy and fraud prevention plan that has not been approved and implemented as required by the Municipal Finance Management Act; unregulated working hours that contravene the Basic Conditions of Employment Act; and that 38 councillors out of 73 have not declared their business interests as required by the Code of Conduct for councillors.

The report found that the municipality’s audit committee and the council’s internal audit unit remain a concern.

It said the committee and the unit did not substantially fulfil their responsibilities for the year.

The municipality also did not include key performance indicators in its integrated development planning in accordance with local government regulations.

The report also found that the council did not reflect the appropriate audit evidence on quarterly performance reports, as it did not include actual performance for numerous projects.

Nor has the municipality complied with the provincial and national Treasury requirements on the implementation of standards on generally recognised accounting practice.

Haswell said that the A-G’s report is pleasing.

He said that even though the municipality received an unqualified audit report, there is room for improvement.

He added that the municipality is committed to overcoming the challenges faced by the internal audit unit.

Another challenge that the municipality is faced with, said Haswell, is the reduction of council’s money spent on overtime.

The matter of overtime came under the spotlight in the first quarterly reports by the business units, and opposition parties criticised and questioned the large sums of money, which ran into millions, being spent on overtime.

Haswell said that overtime expenditure is tricky to deal with as there are labour relations matters to consider, but he acknowledged that matter has to be addressed urgently.

thandom@witness.co.za

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