Unqualified audit for city

2011-12-13 00:00

FOR once there was good news at city hall, with Msunduzi Municipality receiving an unqualified audit report for 2010/11 with some “matters of concern”. This comes after two years of qualified audits for the poorly managed and cash-strapped municpality.

The announcement was made by acting municipal manager Thokozani Maseko during an executive committee meeting yesterday.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said: “This time round the sky is not tumbling down.”

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert said: “Considering the time of year shouldn’t we all rise and say halleluja.”

Maseko said the audit report will be tabled at a full council meeting in January. He said it is heartening that the matters of concern raised by the the Auditor-General (A-G) are not new, but related to the bad performance of the past.

Administrator Sbu Sithole, who is due to take over as eThekwini municipal manager in the new year, said the improved audit was a collective effort.

“This is the progress made as a result of the intervention and placing the municipality under administration. The improvements started with the original intervention team, Johann Mettler, Ben Dorfling, Piet van Dyk.”

Sithole said there was also good political leadership and support and the unsung heroes are the administrative staff who worked with the A-G’s office to ensure that all documentation was in order. “With all the troubles faced by the municipality there are good, dedicated professionals who work here and are committed to seeing the municipality improve,” he said.

Ndlela said that while he is excited by the audit, he is mindful that the municipality still has a long way to go.

He thanked National Treasury and the A-G’s office for their help and guidance. He said the challenge now is to maintain and improve on the current achievements.

Lambert said that while the audit results are commendable , the municipality must not be fooled into believing that it is out of the woods.

He said he is hopeful that the municipality’s public accounts committee will strengthen its oversight, but he warned that more must be done to increase the staff and strengthen the internal audit unit.

WITH Msunduzi Municipality recovering financially, ANC and the New Freedom Party councillors want their annual salaries increased, but the Democratic Alliance is opposing the request.

Bill Lambert echoed administrator Sbu Sithole’s analogy that the municipality may be out of the intensive care, but it is still recuperating. “There are still severe financial constraints and until we are fully recovered I cannot support this request for an increase.”

Deputy Mayor Jabu Ngubo accused Lambert of playing to the press gallery, saying that if the issue had been dealt with as a confidential item the DA would also be clamouring for the increases.

“This is not surprising. Lambert is doing what the DA usually does and pretends as if they don’t want the increase. I know that they do want it.”

Lambert’s retorted: “Hogwash!”

NFP councillor Patrick Bhengu felt they should get the increases, saying it was unfair that the present councillors must be punished for the sins committed by their predecessors; if the DA does not want the increase its share should be channelled elsewhere.

Last year MEC for Co-operative Governance Nomusa Dube turned down an application for a rise for councillors. Exco resolved, with the abstention of the DA, for the acting municipal manager to re-apply to the MEC for a salary increase for councillors.




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