KZN on drive to achieve clean municipal audits

2012-07-26 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL is “aggressively” pursuing a programme to ensure that it is on track to achieve clean audits in all municipalities by 2014.

The plan is to stay ahead of the other provinces and maintain its record of having the highest number of clean audits.

Premier Zweli Mkhize told a press briefing yesterday that mayors and councillors were being held accountable for the audits and they could no longer simply point to their chief financial officers.

“We’ve already had a meeting with all the mayors and we have a clear agreement that they will be the champions for a clean audit,” said Mkhize.

The MEC for Finance, Ina Cronjé, and MEC for Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, were driving the process, said Mkhize.

Arrangements were made with the KZN Auditor-General’s office to ensure that there were regular checks and that municipalities could phone if they needed help to ensure that their financial systems were compliant.

Cronjé said that in their engagement with municipalities they found that mayors and councillors did not necessarily lack commitment, but often lacked the knowledge of what questions to ask and what to look for to hold the administration accountable.The Treasury had been holding workshops with councillors to help them in these matters.

Dube said municipalities had been given guides and checklists to ensure that they were constantly monitoring all aspects of financial management, with regular reports submitted to cabinet.

“There is good competition emerging and the reports reflect good results being achieved, not only in the way the books are being kept but in service delivery as well.”

KZN had five municipalities with clean audits in the 2010/11 finanacial year — Richmond, Umdoni, Emadlangeni, Umtshezi and Umzinyathi. The next best province was Mpumalanga with four, followed by Limpopo and the Western Cape, each with two.

Mkhize said the provincial government keenly awaited the Auditor-General’s report.

This was because a clean bill of health attracted investors and improved the public image of government.

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