No clean audit, no cash

2019-02-04 15:54
MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube. (File)

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Umgungundlovu District’s senior management will no longer be getting performance bonuses when the municipality fails to get either a clean or unqualified audit opinion. 

This was adopted as a council resolution on Friday following a directive to do so from the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

In her sternly-worded January letter, Dube-Ncube said she had previously written to uMgungundlovu Mayor Thobekile Maphumulo on two occasions, in October and November, regarding the responsibility of the municipal management to ensure the achievement of positive audit outcomes, and hence consequence management as well as addressing unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Last week The Witness reported that uMgungundlovu had regressed from an unqualified to a qualified audit opinion for 2017/18.

The auditor-general’s report highlighted the poorly-managed asset register as being one of the main reasons for the qualification, but the DA blamed Maphumulo’s alleged lack of proper leadership — which she denied.

On Friday a special full council was called to get a resolution to implement Dube-Ncube’s directive.

This included the incorporation of the requirement of an unqualified audit opinion as a minimum standard in the performance agreements of the senior management, starting in the current financial year.

Dube-Ncube said council and the municipal manager, Dr Ray Ngcobo, must immediately investigate and institute consequence management in respect of the unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure reported in the 2016/17 annual financial statements.

She also wanted Ngcobo to report, within a month of her January 15 letter and quarterly thereafter, on the implementation of consequence management in this regard in respect of senior municipal officials and other affected staff.

She also instructed “council to resolve not to pay future performance bonuses, to those accounting officers, senior managers and relevant officials who cause the municipality to attain a negative audit outcome and who are responsible for unauthorised, irregular, fruitless or wasteful expenditure.”

Dube-Ncube wanted a copy of the council resolution on the implementation of her instructions to be submitted to her office within 14 days. She said: “Failure to do so is a serious breach of legal directive and failure to fulfil an executive obligation.”

Both the DA and the IFP said they welcomed Dube-Ncube’s decision on the bonuses and consequence management. They said they believed that it would push the municipal senior management to work hard in ensuring that uMgungundlovu­ received positive audit outcomes.

“We are happy that the MEC has decided to go this route in order to make the senior management account for their actions — or lack thereof — when it comes to ensuring that the municipality’s funds are spent and reported accordingly. You will remember that even last year the IFP had opposed to the management getting bonuses when the municipality regresses from a clean to an unqualified audit opinion,” said IFP councillor Bukelani Zuma.

Veteran DA councillor Mike Bond said the party had always voted against performance bonuses citing reasons such as the wasteful and avoidable expenditure as well as non-compliance in respect of consequence management.

“Until now, there’s never been real consequences to people’s actions. Why should people get bonuses when their performance is not satisfactory?

“We also support the directive that there should be an investigation into unauthorised, irregular, fruitless as well wasteful expenditure so that those responsible can account,” he said.

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