‘Not as bad as it seems’

2011-07-04 14:01

But the grim statistics contradicted him. City Press asked him to explain

Why do you speak of this grim situation in the language of hope?

The situation is not as grim as you state it to be. The reason I say that is that municipalities, when they are pointed in the right ­direction, have been able to respond and put corrective measures in place.

About 120 municipalities (plus about ­seven still being audited) are in the category of unqualified reports, which means they have the capacity to do good if they put their minds to it.

One hundred and twenty-seven is quite a critical mass to be able to turn the corner and many of them have been there consistently for a number of years.

All we need here is consistency of behaviour in doing the right thing.

We have also been very explicit about those things that need to be attended to.

If municipalities attend to these matters with diligence, they will not be looking for the unknown, they will be looking for the right thing.

They know what they have to fix and, if they fix them, they know they will be able to reverse that grim situation.

That was my reason for optimism and saying the results, even though they are not showing us the ultimate, are giving us hope.

Also, a lot of municipalities have moved away from disclaimers, indicating that the culture of transparency is beginning to take root.

All we need to do now is to assist them to record and capture things properly and continuously.
Monthly, quarterly and daily reconciliations are a way of life in a municipality. That’s what we are encouraging municipalities to do. If they can do just that, they really are going to turn the corner.

Is the 2014 deadline for government’s ­Operation Clean Audit achievable?

A lot of money and resources are thrown into local government.
What has been lacking is the targeted monitoring of performance. If we can do that, it will give support to municipalities in a much more structured way while sending a message of seriousness about governance and ethics to municipalities.

It will eliminate the chances of mayors and municipal leadership taking the campaign of clean government lightly.

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