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‘Horrific’ AG report on NC municipalities

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Only one out of 31 municipalities in the Northern Cape has received a clean audit.

DA Member of Parliament Willie Aucamp. Picture: Supplied

IN A “HORRIFIC” report from the auditor-general, only one out of 31 municipalities in the Northern Cape has received a clean audit.

This is according to a virtual National Council of Provinces (NCOP) presentation by the auditor-general on the 2018/19 audit outcomes of municipalities.

According to the presentation, the audits of four municipalities in the Northern Cape were outstanding while six municipalities received disclaimers and 12 received qualified audit opinions. 

Sol Plaatje Municipality received a qualified with findings.

The six municipalities that received disclaimers were Kamiesberg, !Kheis, Kai !Garib, Kgatelopele, Joe Morolong and Dikgatlong.

The only local authority that received a clean audit was the John Taolo District Municipality.

“The stagnation and regression in the Northern Cape is horrific,” DA Member of Parliament Willie Aucamp said.

The auditor-general pointed out that 63% of municipalities in the Province need an intervention, with a further 26% of them being the cause for serious concern.

“What is even more bewildering than the poor outcomes themselves, is the root cause of this financial dilemma,”Aucamp stated.

“It is increasingly clear that the failure of local government in the Northern Cape stems largely from the hopeless practice of cadre deployment that has, to a large extent, rendered municipalities useless. One only has to consider the heading on one of the AG’s presentations to sum it all up: ‘Not much to go around, yet not the right hands at the till’.”

Aucamp pointed out that this was true of the Northern Cape, where the AG found that over one fifth of municipalities didn’t have chief financial officers or municipal managers in place. “Where these incumbents were in place, they struggled to perform despite apparently having the right qualifications.”

Aucamp said further that in addition to municipalities also having many warm bodies in financial units, the AG himself had emphasised that they were clearly not placed there to deliver services. “Hence the payment of R47 million towards consultants to assist municipalities in the Northern Cape with compiling their audits. Of that amount, R12 million was paid to consultants for outstanding audit reports not yet received.”

Aucamp stated that the value for money aspect of the consultants was highly questionable, given unreliable audit statements compiled by consultants due to poorly prepared financial statements presented to them by municipal staff.

“It is a vicious cycle, with more and more of the wrong people, who have neither the skills nor the experience, heading up municipalities. These people create a crippling expense to municipalities that are already battling to provide even the most basic services to residents.”