Auditor-General’s support welcome

2016-02-11 06:00

THE Auditor-General tabled his report at Ugu District Council at the council meeting recently.

As a semi-insider I was somewhat surprised to hear that council had achieved an unqualified report. This is a good report exceeded only by a clean audit and is a great improvement on the previous year’s disclaimer.

However, a closer reading of the Auditor-General’s opinion revealed that while he was satisfied as far as the separate and consolidated financial statements were concerned, he was less confident about the performance management reports, and had been unable to express an opinion or conclusion on these matters.

In layman’s language I think this means that as far as the financial statements are concerned, Ugu carried out double-entry bookkeeping to his satisfaction with accounts and vouchers which stood up to scrutiny, and proper records were kept.

The Auditor-General’s lack of opinion or conclusion about how well Ugu was able to manage its affairs, and the extent to which its performance management reports against pre-determined objectives were useful and reliable suggest that Ugu was not particularly well managed in the year under review, which ended in June 2015.

During the course of his presentation the AG thanked everybody involved in the preparation of the financial statements and performance reports which lead to his opinion as well as the draft annual report.

In a very significant development he went on to say that council’s watchdog and oversight committee, known as MPAC, which is charged with vetting and verifying council service delivery performance, would in future be able to call on his office for assistance throughout the year.

This oversight committee is dormant, meeting only four times a year. At a meeting of MPAC last week the committee examined the more than 500-page draft annual report which still lacked the financial statements and the Auditor- General’s report for 50 minutes before passing it on to full council for public scrutiny. It looks as though MPAC will in future have considerably more muscle in its efforts because of the support now provided by the Auditor-General.

Dave Snashall

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