19 September 2018


THE OFFICIAL BOKONE BOPHIRIMA GOVERNMENT NEWSPAPER

Auditor-General’s report backs COGTA intervention

by: SAnews.gov.za   date: 01 June 2018

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
(COGTA), Zweli Mkhize, says the Auditor-General’s audit report on
municipalities is in line with the department’s stance that there is
an urgent need to intervene in dysfunctional municipalities.
The audit report was released last week by Auditor-General, Kimi
Makwetu, and showed that during the 2016/17 financial year,
irregular expenditure increased in municipalities.
“The AG report indicates that there is an urgent need to intervene
in badly performing municipalities as they are confronted by a
series of problems.
“The AG’s audit outcome is a very useful yardstick to measure the
general performance of municipalities. It corroborates COGTA’s
own assessment through the Back to Basics programmes, which
indicate that 31% of municipalities are dysfunctional and another
31% are almost dysfunctional,’’ said Minister Mkhize.
The audit outcome reflects the results for the first year of the newly
elected councils after the re-demarcation of municipalities from
278 to 257 and the local government elections held in August
2016.
Mkhize expressed serious concern that the audit outcome for the
financial year ending June 2017 had regressed in almost all
municipalities.

“This is a continuous trend seen after every local government
election. The areas of regression range from weak governance,
poor quality of annual financial statements, internal control
weaknesses and performance challenges,” said the Minister.

Despite challenges faced by municipalities, COGTA congratulated
the 33 municipalities that received an unqualified audit opinion with
no findings in the period 2016-2017.

“We are encouraged that with the ongoing efforts to improve
municipal audit outcomes, there are municipalities that do get
things right and can become exemplary to others. This is
especially encouraging when the AG’s audit report represents a
period when two-thirds of councillors had just been elected into
new council positions following the 2016 municipal elections,’’ said
Mkhize.

Plans afoot to get municipalities on track
In the immediate term, the Minister plans to deploy District
Technical Support Teams who are experts in their fields. They will
be deployed to municipalities to focus on infrastructure planning,
delivery and maintenance, financial management support,
governance and administration issues.
“These teams will be supported by a Rapid Response technical
team, which will assist financially distressed municipalities to
develop financial recovery plans in collaboration with the National
Treasury. This will also ensure that they are able to access the
Financial Management Conditional Grant offered by National
Treasury to promote reforms in financial management and build
capacity in municipalities,” said the Minister.

He said plans were underway to conduct provincial visits as part of
COGTA’s consultative processes to come to terms with the nature
and extent of problems faced by municipalities.
“All the efforts are geared at ensuring that municipalities have
effective governance systems in place, with qualified and
competent senior professionals to manage municipal finances with
accountability and within applicable policies.

“COGTA will continue to provide required support to all
municipalities in distress to ensure that they deliver services as per
their mandate,” said Minister Mkhize.