Home South African Corruption and collusion in municipal tenders a growing concern

Corruption and collusion in municipal tenders a growing concern

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A carrot and a stick approach, where excellence is rewarded and mediocrity and maladministration is punished, is what’s needed to turn local government around, says Salga.

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. File picture

A CARROT and a stick approach, where excellence is rewarded and mediocrity and maladministration is punished, is what’s needed to turn local government around, says the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

The organisation has noted with disappointment the findings of the auditor-general report painting a deteriorating quality of governance and accountability that was fuelled by lack of consequence management in municipalities.

In a statement on Sunday, Salga said that despite this it had noted pockets of excellence where councils have consistently achieved clean audits since the 2016/17 financial year in several municipalities.

The association, however, expressed concern at the lack of consequence management and tolerance of mediocrity which fuelled a sense of impunity in local government.

“There can never be improvement in accountability and good governance if the transgressors are allowed to go unpunished. There should be zero tolerance to mediocrity for excellence and good governance to become a culture in local government.”

Salga called for decisive action by municipal leadership to hire competent finance staff in municipalities.

It wants the use of consultants that yielded no results to come to an end.

“The revelation by the AG’s reports that municipalities spent R1.2 billion on consultants in the 2021/21 financial year while paying finance department staff R10.4 billion is concerning. It points to the skills deficit in municipal finance departments, hence municipal leaders must ask themselves critical questions in an event that a CFO is unable to produce credible financial statements.”

The tolerance by councils of ineptitude coupled with lack of consequence management cannot continue unabated, it said.

“Salga calls for the appointment of skilled and professional staff who are competent. Mediocrity must never be tolerated.”

Corruption and collusion in municipal tenders was a growing concern.

“Municipal officials are moonlighting doing business with the state, let alone with the municipalities in which they are employed. This must come to an end, it cannot be tolerated any further.”

According to Salga, there was a need to fundamentally rethink the approach to Section 139 interventions to yield desired results.

“In the current audit cycle 28 municipalities are under Section 139 administration. Only three municipalities attained unqualified audits, two municipalities have not submitted financial statements for audit and 24 municipalities had qualified or worse audit outcomes.”

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