‘Weak leaders’ in public accounts

2013-01-21 00:00

PUBLIC accounts committee councillors are not equipped to provide effective oversight in their municipalities, it emerged during the establishment of the Provincial Public Accounts Committee Forum in Durban on Saturday.

The councillors are supposed to oversee the financial affairs of municipalities.

They reportedly cannot properly interrogate the Auditor-General’s reports because they lack the skill; they provide weak leadership to their municipalities; and they do not challenge incompetence and poor performance.

Many of them are so entrenched in partisan politics that they tend to protect their colleagues in council rather than demand accountability.

Also, many of them failed to attend workships run by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to increase their oversight skills.

Others arrived late, slept during sessions or left early.

However, the councillors hit back, saying it was a waste of time to attend the Cogta workshops because they were arranged near the end of their five-year term of office.

The c hairperson of the public accounts committee, Fish ­Mahalela, said councillors needed to hold municipal officials responsible.

“There is weak leadership, [which] shows that we are not taking local government seriously …, when it comes to deployment, we send the best people to national and provincial, and those left are sent to local government when the process should be the other way round.”

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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