The shame hanging over the province is far from going away. If out of 24 municipalities only 10 (41, 6%) were able to submit their books for auditing by the Auditor General on time, this spells disaster. Of the 10, three received disclaimers, 5 qualified reports and the other 2 received financially unqualified reports with findings on predetermined objectives.
Of the three municipal entities in the province two, the Dr Kenneth Kaunda Economic Agency (Pty) Ltd and the Rustenburg Water Services Trust submitted books for scrutiny on time. The Moses Kotane Development Agency failed to comply. The two that submitted received financially unqualified audits with findings.
The dream of clean audits by 2014 seems unattainable by the municipalities in the province as audit outcomes have not improved compared with the previous position of non-submissions, disclaimers and qualified opinions; in short the municipalities have not learnt a thing from their past mistakes and continue to do business as usual this with R13 million having been spent on engaging consultants to help improve the situation. Even the two municipalities that received unqualified reports with findings have not shown any improvement from last year!
The lack of skills and capacity, which may be laid the door of the African National Congress policy of deploying undeserving cadres, are the main causes of the failure by the municipalities.
The compliance rate by municipalities is shocking. Information classified as not useful for 2009/10 is as high as 73% while complete non-compliance with the Municipal Finance Management Act for the same period is 100%.
One wonders what value, if any, did the experts brought in by the minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs do to assist.
Very many municipalities had Municipal managers brought in by the minister. Municipalities such as Ventersdorp, Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, Mahikeng, Madibeng, Taung, Naledi are some that had these specially skilled managers appointed to them yet they could hardly make the due date for submission of books, let alone their accuracy and acceptability. The question that goes begging is at what cost were they compensated for services “rendered”. Surely this is money down the drain.
80%, eight out of the 10 municipalities whose books were scrutinized, showed lack of proper record keeping. Simply put they could not give or show documents for services rendered or goods purchased. This speaks volumes about those in charge of our livelihood in the municipalities.
The picture leaves the province in an invidious position as far as the control of funds by municipalities is concerned.
We hope that earnest efforts will be made by all concerned, the municipalities themselves, the provincial departments of Local Government and Traditional Affairs and that of provincial Treasury to live up to expectations.
By: I S MFUNDISI
DEPUTY PRESIDENT: UCDP