Audit: Ugu finances worst yet

2014-02-10 00:00

UGU District Municipality finances have been badly handled according to an audit report for the financial year ending on June 30, 2013.

The KwaZulu-Natal Auditor-General’s office tabled a report on Thursday showing that the municipality regressed to an unacceptable audit report, a disclaimer that is the worst they have achieved so far.

Councillors from all political parties were unhappy with the news and fired angry words at ruling-party councillors who fought back, resulting in heated debate in the council meeting when this was announced on Thursday.

Ronnie Nair, called to stand in for the Speaker, asked councillors to withdraw their heated comments.

Mayor Ntombifikile Gumede said all leaders needed to take blame for this report as they worked as a collective and were all sworn in as councillors to lead not along political party lines, but as one government of the municipality.

For municipal leaders and councillors to create an altercation and point fingers was uncalled for as it was not going to turn around the financial crisis of the municipality. They all needed to respect each other and collectively own this worrying financial outcome, and work together towards finding a solution. This was the gist of what Gumede and Nair said to cool the heated situation.

The Ugu external audit committee put to the council meeting that they were not surprised that the municipality got such an audit report because they advised the municipality accordingly, but said that management did not implement their advice.

This disclaimer indicates a regression of the municipality and raises questions as to whether the municipality will get a clean audit report this year.

However, municipal manager D.D. Naidoo is still optimistic, saying they know what to do to put their financial house together and claim a clean audit at the end of the year.

Naidoo said they have looked at the dashboard report (advice that comes from the A-G to fix the situation in future) and said they have drawn up their corrective plan.

At a media briefing yesterday, Ugu leaders and top managers confirmed their commitment to rectify the financial situation. They clarified that service delivery progressed well despite the municipality’s financial position.

Gumede and Speaker Sithembiso Cele said Ugu has worked as team and that they are on top of the situation as they continue to implement their corrective action plan to claim a clean audit report by 2014 or 2015.

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