The good, the bad and the ugly

2012-07-28 18:49

The good

South Africa’s most improved municipality is also one of its best.

The eMadlangeni Local Municipality in Utrecht received a disclaimer in the 2007/08 financial year. This year it sparkled – one of only 13 councils to receive a clean audit from the Auditor-General.

In his report, Auditor-General Terence Nombembe praised eMadlangeni and its fellow KwaZulu-Natal municipalities, Richmond and Umdoni, for achieving the feat a year earlier than they had hoped.

“This points to the determination of the leadership to achieve clean administration and a commitment to the dates by which this will be achieved,” he said.

eMadlangeni, previously called the Utrecht Local Municipality, was established in 2006.

In its first audit in 2007/08, it received a disclaimer. The following year it improved to a qualified audit opinion and in 2009/10 it received an unqualified report with findings.

This past financial year, due to interventions by council, including the establishment of audit, public accounts and monitoring committees, it received the Auditor-General’s Clean Audit Award.

According to the Auditor-General’s report, eMadlangeni’s improvement in asset management, human resources, budget and performance contributed to its clean slate.

Nombembe pointed to improvements in IT systems, policies and procedures, political leadership, council activities, tender regulations, service delivery monitoring and action on internal audit suggestions. – Xolani Mbanjwa

The bad

Buffalo City, the Eastern Cape’s second metro, was singled out as the worst-performing municipality in the country by Auditor-General Terence Nombembe.

In his report, the Auditor-General said the metro dished out tenders to employees, councillors, state officials and their relatives amounting to a staggering R5.86 billion.

The metro governing East London also employed unfair procurement processes, inadequately managed 17 contracts worth R51 million and had very poor supply chain management controls.

Buffalo City had underqualified staff in key posts, no consequences for poor performance and politicians did not take the Auditor-General’s office seriously, Nombembe said.

Numerous requests for interviews with city leaders, including Mayor Zukiswa Ncitha and municipal manager Andile Fani, fell on deaf ears this week and the city failed to answer questions.

On Tuesday as Nombembe released his report, Ncitha was putting out service delivery fires in several townships across the metro.

At Egoli she was confronted by burning tyres, while at newly developed Unit P, residents closed roads in protest at the lack of electricity.

The metro’s main township, Mdantsane, the second largest in the country, still has no names for its untarred streets and residents still call its 18 sections “Native units”.

Mdantsane community activist Thabang Maseko said: “There is little visible progress and no tangible evidence of service delivery in Mdantsane.” – Sabelo Skiti

And the ugly

The City of Matlosana in Klerksdorp has emerged as North West’s biggest culprit, with many others in the province among the worst in the country.

Officials blew R154 million on unauthorised expenditure, R63.5 million on irregular expenditure and 94% of officials did not declare
interests in companies to which the municipality gave tenders.

Only two of 23 North West municipalities received unqualified audits, and 15 municipalities and two state-owned entities failed to submit their financial statements for auditing.

“The general trend of municipalities and municipal entities in the province is to not submit financial statements on time for audit purposes. We are concerned about this practice, which if not urgently addressed will contribute to an environment susceptible to a breakdown in significant key controls and consequent loss of accountability,” said Nombembe’s report.

In the North West, unauthorised expenditure stands at R166 million, irregular expenditure at R165 million, while fruitless and wasteful expenditure was recorded at R26.7 million.

At least 73% of North West municipalities used consultants to prepare their year-end statements at an estimated cost of R10.2 million. Although vacant posts were filled, “the skills of these incumbents are not adequate to perform the duties for which they have been employed”.

Acting premier Louisa Mabe ordered municipalities to fire officials who neglected their duties. – Mmanaledi Mataboge

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