No bonuses for City officials

2018-02-23 13:30
Cogta wants answers for poor performance.

Cogta wants answers for poor performance. (File)

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Msunduzi senior managers will not be getting salary increases and performance bonuses and councillors will be denied increments on their allowances as a consequence of the City’s disclaimer audit opinion.

MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube said on Thursday the managers and councillors of 12 KwaZulu-Natal municipalities that received negative audit opinions from the auditor-general (AG) have to face the consequences for their actions or lack thereof.

Msunduzi’s Themba Njilo will be among the mayors who will be hauled over the coals by Dube-Ncube this weekend.

She said she wants answers on what caused their municipalities to regress and they must also present an audit action plan on how they plan to turn things around.

“We want the mayors to take full ownership of the situation and to internalise and understand the plan of cleaning the system going forward as opposed to leaving things to officials and therefore not being able to understand what it is that needs to be done,” she said.

Of the province’s 54 municipalities, Msunduzi is the only one that received a disclaimer. Dube-Ncube said regression in Msunduzi was a concern.

She said performances bonuses have to reflect the consequences and those that have done wrong should be dealt with.

“You cannot expect to be rewarded for wrongdoing. The senior managers are the ones who had to respond to the queries from the auditor-general, they are the ones who were tasked with making sure that all the legal processes were followed and that no fruitless expenditure was incurred,” she said.

Dube-Ncube said the councillors also have to face the consequences for failing to play their oversight role over the administration.

“I’ve repeatedly told senior managers that you cannot allow anyone to force you into doing something that you know is illegal. At the end of the day you are a professional and as a professional you know what the ethical issues are,” she said.

She said councillors do not authorise any transaction or sign financial statements. She said she does not care if the council makes a wrong resolution, the officials know the law and they must abide by it.

“You cannot compromise your career and ethics by saying that somebody said you must do something wrong. If someone instructs you to do something that you know is illegal and unethical, tell them to do it themselves. Because if you do it, you will be the one who will end up in jail because your signature will be there,” she said.

MEC Dube-Ncube said she cannot place Msunduzi under administration just because it received a disclaimer.

She explained that the process is not automatic and Cogta cannot impede the local government from doing its function because local government is an executive in its own right.

She said the provincial government can only intervene if the municipality is failing to discharge its executive powers. She said the law says that Cogta has to balance between giving support, assisting, oversight role and then intervening by taking over the responsibility that belongs to local government.

“The law also says that before intervening, you must show that you have done everything to assist so that it is not seen as you impeding on the rights of the municipality to discharge their responsibility,” said Dube-Ncube.

She said she can only intervene, in the way of taking away some powers, when her department has exhausted all the remedies to try and salvage the situation. She added they can also exercise a discretionary intervention where the municipality itself comes to Cogta and asks for help.

She said eDumbe­ Municipality, in Zululand, has invited Cogta to assist through a discretionary intervention.

In the meantime, Dube-Ncube wants
investigations done into the irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure as well as the bad debts highlighted in the AG’s report on Msunduzi. She said the officials who are responsible for them need to be held accountable. As part of the investigation, she wants to know what measures were put in place to deal with re-occurring offences, that were previously highlighted by the AG.

Some of the root causes for poor performance and negative audit opinion, Dube-Ncube said, is the lack of capacity in some of the officials.

She said when Cogta refused to sign appointment letters for some of the officials the municipalities wanted to employ, they were seen as “bad people”.

“We told these municipalities that we cannot endorse such appointments because those officials had caused disasters where they came from.

“We cautioned those who pushed for these appointments and told them that you can go ahead but you must know that they have broken the law and acted unethically in their previous jobs. At the end of the day Cogta is not the employer, the municipalities are, but we make sure they know the full history of the person they are wanting to appoint,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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