KZN municipalities slated over spending

2012-01-31 14:52

KwaZulu-Natal’s 47 municipalities have incurred R2 billion in irregular spending, according to co-operative governance MEC Nomusa Dube.

“The amount of irregular expenditure is sitting at R2 billion. Surely this is a cold and concerning fact that our councillors must attend to,” she said during the awarding of certificates to the five municipalities that received clean audits in the 2010/2011 financial year.

Though the province managed to do away with adverse and disclaimer audit reports, it was concerned about the emphasis of matters which arose as a result of irregular spending.

Of KwaZulu-Natal’s 61 municipalities, 47 received unqualified reports, while five received clean audits.

Among the culprits who featured prominently for irregular expenditure was KwaZulu-Natal’s only metropolitan council, the eThekwini municipality, with irregular spending at over R1 billion.

Today’s function was also attended by Auditor General Terence Nombembe.

Dube said she had seen major changes in how municipal finances were handled since her department began its clean audit campaign.

“Since the launch of operation clean audit, we have recorded year-on-year improvement in our municipal management area.”

The main factors that compromised municipal finances were poor controls, poor quality of financial statements, and non-compliance with supply chain management.

Dube said the achievements of the Richmond, Umdoni, Umtshezi, Emandlangeni, and Umzinyathi municipalities showed KwaZulu-Natal would soon achieve its clean audit target.

Nombembe congratulated the municipalities, saying he would continue supporting municipalities so all of them could get clean audits.

“We are very excited by the results. What is pleasing is that for this year we have exceeded our targets.

“Four municipalities said they would attain clean audits this year. I am happy that you have exceeded your targets by getting five clean audits.”

Inkatha Freedom Party shadow finance MEC Roman Liptak said he was worried too many municipalities remained in financial distress.

“The 2014 deadline for all KZN municipalities to achieve clean audits within the framework of the operation clean audit is unrealistic given the persistent municipal challenges and recurring audit issues.”

The lack of proper management repeatedly resulted in poor audit outcomes in municipalities, he said.

“Too many KZN municipalities have acting municipal managers and chief financial officers and it is these critical vacancies that have to be filled before we can expect improved audits.”

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