Clean: Ngcobo, Eastern cape

2017-06-25 06:02
No-Test Ngcenge no longer has to walk to other villages to charge her cellphone as her home has been supplied with electricity. Picture: Lubabalo Ngcukana

No-Test Ngcenge no longer has to walk to other villages to charge her cellphone as her home has been supplied with electricity. Picture: Lubabalo Ngcukana

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The chief financial officer of the Eastern Cape’s Engcobo Local Municipality says its clean audit, which received praise from Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu this week, was due to tight financial controls.

“You put controls in place and monitor them. That is our strong point when you compare us with other municipalities,” said Mzusekho Matomane.

“We don’t compromise when it comes to policy. The principle is simple: the control that I do to prevent other people from manipulating the system must also prevent me from doing the same.”

Makwetu praised Ngcobo – which scored a clean audit this year after a qualified audit with findings last year – for successfully delivering an R8.5m electrification project R1.6 million below budget.

Last month, residents in Ngxebe village outside Ngcobo were connected to the electricity grid.

Nokwanele Mpondonkulu (60), a mother of nine children and grandmother of five, is delighted that she no longer has to use candles and her paraffin stove.

“Now I can buy groceries and put them in the fridge. I watch TV and listen to the radio without worrying about the battery dying. I am very happy,” she said.

Her neighbour, No-Test Ngcenge (50), said: “We used to walk 2km to other villages where there is electricity to charge a cellphone. Now we are able to do everything from the comfort of our own homes. We also feel safer now because there are lights.”

Matomane, who is from Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal, began working in Ngcobo in 2012 after leaving auditing firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo Systems.

His municipality has now also developed a checklist that has become a model for others.

Ngcobo is firm when it comes to proper tender processes and the municipality often asks the Auditor-General’s office for advice about how to best monitor them.

“This is the fourth consecutive year without irregular and fruitless expenditure because of that check list. When we award tenders, we check them against the procedures. Before we even advertise, we test each and every step against the procedure,” Matomane said.

He said his background working for an auditing firm had helped him a lot.

Regarding tenders, he said the municipality had to ensure quality and competitive prices, and the process had to be as competitive as possible.

Another factor in the clean audit was performance management, championed by municipal manager Silumko Mahlasela, who said that, in 2011, there were more than 12 000 households within the population of 155 000 that did not have electricity.

“But, as I am sitting here, we are left with a backlog of only 5 000,” he said.

As a small municipality, the government budget was not that big and they fast-tracked the electrification project by using their savings as a council to top up what they received from the department of energy.

Read more on:    kimi makwetu  |  eastern cape  |  service delivery

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