Municipalities squander R100m
Durban - About R100m of taxpayers’ money has been lost due to financial mismanagement in 18 KwaZulu-Natal municipalities, the province’s co-operative governance department said on Tuesday.
Department’s spokesperson Vernon Mchunu said in Durban: "Since the investigation started in 2007 about R100m has been lost due to financial mismanagement in some municipalities.”
The Indaka municipality had lost about R4.5m and uMsunduzi municipality, incorporating the city of Pietermaritzburg, had wasteful expenditure of about R4m.
This was revealed when co-operative governance MEC Nomusa Dube addressed mayors and municipal managers of the 18 municipalities that had failed to submit their financial statements in time.
The Umkhanyakude district municipality and the Endumeni municipality had failed to submit financial statements to the provincial government and the Auditor General timeously for two years in a row.
“This is the second year in a row the Endumeni municipality submitted their annual financial statements late. [In terms of the law] the mayor must promptly table a written explanation in the council setting out reasons for failure,” said Dube.
She said the Endumeni municipality had known for three years that it had to comply with such standards.
“It is clear that the accounting officer and the chief financial officer have not managed this process adequately.”
She said the Umkhanyakude district municipality submitted its annual financial statements late for the past two years.
“They were submitted on December 8 2009 and on the September 9 2008. Both sets of statements were submitted after the statutory date of August 31,” she said.
The leadership of the two municipalities will be charged with financial misconduct for their failure to report on the use or misuse of public money as required by the law, she said.
Dube said she would lay a charge against the mayors, municipal managers and financial officers before the end of the week.
The Edumbe, Mbonambi, Nkandla, Nongoma, Nquthu, Okhahlamba Ubuhlebezwe and Indaka municipalities had until March 5 to submit outstanding information and they would also be charged if they failed.
“This meeting serves to inform the mayors… they are required to submit written representations to the MEC by March 5 indicating why the MEC should not intervene in their municipalities,” she said.
The department had already intervened in Okhahlamba and Indaka.
Umkhanyakude mayor Lawrence Mthombeni said he welcomed the intervention and they needed guidance and workshops to assist them.
“We need workshops as mayors… we are sometimes disadvantaged because we don’t stay in the office to see what has been submitted. Some of us don’t even understand how the law works,” Mthombeni said.
He said the workshops would teach them what needed to be checked, because at the moment they left everything to officials.
Mthombeni said the naming and shaming strategy was a step in the right direction.