In a presentation to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) during a virtual briefing session today, the office of the Auditor-General (AG) presented the outcomes of municipal audits for the 2018-19 financial year.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) led Western Cape was identified as the province leading the pack in terms of clean audit outcomes, with 27 out of 30 municipalities achieving clean or unqualified audits.
In Gauteng, the Midvaal Local Municipality also received a clean audit.
At a time when the DA was governing the two municipalities, Tshwane and Johannesburg received unqualified audits.
The AG pointed to the fact that where political will was present, clean audits and audit outcome improvements were possible as demonstrated by several municipalities.
The presentation is an attestation to the DA’s clean, good governance record across the country and the alternative we have to offer to municipalities and provinces not governed by the DA.
While the number of clean audits increased from 18 to 20, the overall picture showed a regression in audit outcomes, with a total of 111 municipalities achieving an unqualified audit compared to previous year’s 123.
The presentation opened with the quote “Not much to go around, yet not the right hands at the till”. This could not be more true for municipalities with poor audit outcomes.
The AG bemoaned the increased use of external consultants to facilitate the financial management of municipalities, and the fact that the “over-reliance on consultants had not resulted in improved audit outcomes.” Limpopo spent R102m on consultants, and yet received 20 out of 27 reports with either an adverse or disclaimed opinion on their outcomes.
In the North-West and the Free State there were no clean audits recorded, and the Free State was singled out for particularly poor record keeping with 8 municipalities failing to submit their financials.
Cadre deployment has also added to the erosion of audit committees for provincial and national departments. The Western Cape has reversed that erosion in provincial departments and Midvaal was also indicated as having a stable audit committee environment, which leads to consistently good results.
It is clear that DA-governed municipalities have the political will to ensure good governance. This is not a theoretical issue, but a direct result of the focus on spending the people’s money on the people.
The DA welcomes the endorsement of our governments, and we urge the AG to use their newly legislated powers to bring to book the negligent leaders of delinquent municipalities and ensure consequence management.
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