uMgungundlovu chalks up ‘hat-trick’ of unqualified audits

2010-12-08 00:00

ONCE in a state of complete collapse, the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) has now turned in its third consecutive unqualified audit in a row.

This is a remarkable achievement for a municipality that was disintegrating rapidly in 2007 under the burden of a R32 million deficit.

Speaking at a press briefing at the municipal offices yesterday, municipal manager S’bu Khuzwayo said 2007 was the worst year for the municipality due to overexpenditure, undercollection of revenue, poor leadership and poor internal controls.

He alluded to three disciplinary processes related to corruption that are currently under way, but said he could not divulge any details as they might jeopardise the cases.

Khuzwayo said significant gains have been made since 2007 due to an effective turnaround strategy that was put in place soon after new leaders were brought in.

uMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said: “The synergy between the political leadership and management has been instrumental in securing a hat-trick of unqualified audits, against all possible odds.”

Some of the gains made include:

• A collection rate of 68%;

• Improved relations between UMDM and its local municipalities;

• A financially viable municipality that is likely to have a cash surplus of nearly R5 million by the end of this financial year,

• Blue Drop status for water services of 64,7% this year compared to 21% last year; and

• The restoration of UMDM’s credibility.

Asked whether UMDM had offered to assist the fragile Msunduzi Municipality, Khuzwayo said the district has a “moral obligation” to assist municipalities under its jurisdiction, but certain legalities have to be followed.

“Previously there were serious tensions and local municipalities were not on talking terms [with the district]. We attempted to ease and amend relations, but with Msunduzi it took a bit longer,” he said.

Khuzwayo said relations have improved and “we are now in the process of assisting one another”.

He said Msunduzi has approached uMgungundlovu and it is looking at ways of addressing its requests. This includes discussions about the lack of burial space in the city, said Khuzwayo.

Should resources fall short, Khuzwayo said, the district municipality will approach other government sectors for assistance.In conclusion,

Bhamjee also announced that all but one of the local municipalities in the district have achieved unqualified audits.

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