Only 13 municipalities get clean audits

2012-07-23 14:16

Only six new municipalities have attained clean audit outcomes this year – something that will have to change, if the Auditor-General and finance minister have their way.

According to the local government audit outcomes announced by auditor-general Terence Nombembe in Johannesburg today municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape joined those who attained this status last year, bringing the total to 13.

While he described this as a source of “excitement”, Nombembe further said that the 156 municipalities (45%) that had obtained unqualified audit opinions were close to the goal but had implemented changes at the last moment.

Said Nombembe: “They have got what it takes to do the right thing, they just need to institutionalise it.”

Supply chain management was one of the aspects investigated by the auditor-general and according to the report R3.5 billion worth of procurement could not be audited as documents were not supplied by auditees and at 46% of municipalities contracts were awarded to employees, councillors or other state officials.

In terms of these abuses Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that the post of chief procurement officer in Treasury, as announced in the budget speech, would be advertised in the next two weeks.

“We want to move to more active supply-chain management monitoring. We can now demonstrate that there are consequences to not operating in the law. At the moment there are no consequences,” which led to widespread impunity, he said.

“It is important for leaders, politicians and administrators to take responsibility for their actions. If they don’t act according to the law, we must develop effective enforcement processes to ensure that they (do so),” said Gordhan.

Collins Chabane, minister in the Presidency for monitoring and evaluation, said municipalities that had problems would have to develop improvement plans which would be monitored.

He also highlighted the role political parties would have in ensuring the implementation of reforms. “Political parties and Parliament have to follow up on things to be done,” said Chabane.

Gordhan also emphasised municipalities’ role in service delivery, saying: “Local government is not there to maintain good systems, but good systems are there to service ... rate payers.”

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