Umgungundlovu given clean audit

2008-12-01 00:00

In a dramatic turnaround, the Auditor-General (A-G) has given the once dysfunctional uMgungundlovu District Municipality a clean audit.

This was achieved in just five months and follows two years of disclaimers. A disclaimer means that the financial controls were so poor that the A-G could not make a proper assessment of the accounts.

The news that uMgungundlovu had moved from a disclaimer to an unqualified audit was announced at a special meeting of KZN municipalities yesterday. As the team responsible for this achievement went up to receive the audit report, a member of the audience was overheard remarking, “here come the magicians”.

The team credited for the turnaround are acting municipal manager (MM) Sbu Khuzwayo, who was seconded from the Department of Local Government; chief financial officer (CFO) Walter Muwandi, who was seconded by KZN Treasury, and Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee, who was deployed from being a member of the KZN Legislature.

The men were asked to come to the rescue of the controversial municipality that was embroiled in allegations of corruption and poor financial management. This was shortly after the previous municipal manager, Monical Mngadi, resigned after a Witness probe uncovered her questionable qualifications, such as a one-day MBA and a doctorate awarded by a Bible college. Her CFO, Bongani Ndlovu, also resigned amid allegations that the finances were in such a poor state that there was no money to buy toilet rolls or fax paper.

A short while later, former mayor Bongi Sithole was ousted from her post when her own council passed a vote of no confidence in her. She resigned from the municipality.

Bhamjee praised Khuzwayo and Muwandi for their single-minded devotion to turning the situation around and for their strong work ethic.

Khuzwayo said the achievement was remarkable in that all the same staff in the financial division were used.

“No consultants or new people were brought in. They worked themselves to the bone over the past months, often late into the night and over weekends.

To me the greatest aspect of this achievement is that the staff did not demand even a cent in overtime.”

Khuzwayo and Muwandi thanked Bhamjee and his council for not interfering and thanked the mayor personally for his encouragement and for believing that they could turn the situation around.

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