George Mari, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA)
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal’s goal of achieving clean audits across all 61 municipalities during 2011/12 has been left in tatters after a damning report by the Auditor-General (A-G) revealed that only one municipality has received a clean audit.
The findings are proof that ANC councillors are betraying not only their own party’s commitments, but their responsibility to the millions of residents within the communities they control.
According to a media report, only uMtshezi in Estcourt received a clean audit from the Auditor-General’s department. COGTA KZN MEC, Nomusa Dube, has described the situation as “regrettable”. As the DA, we believe it is disgraceful.
Overall, 15 municipalities have regressed in terms of audit outcomes. The number of municipalities with disclaimers has also increased from one to seven. The problems identified within the A-G’s report stem largely from councillors’ failing to perform basic oversight. They also point to a dire lack of competency from municipal employees themselves.
Given that it is a separate sphere of government, the DA acknowledges that the MEC cannot simply wade in and take over municipalities. Constitutionally, councillors within each council have the power to manage and oversee their individual municipalities. However, in the case of the seven with disclaimers, we believe that intervention is a must. These municipalities did not submit records to the A-G – simply because there are none. If basic financial controls are not in place then the municipality is no longer functioning. This warrants the MEC’s involvement.
Councillors within the municipalities that have failed to achieve clean audits have a lot to answer for. They must explain exactly how they have allowed standards to sink to such unprecedented lows. That there are 60 municipalities which cannot get their act together in terms of the Auditor-General’s requirements is scandalous and reveals the extent to which they have neglected to perform their constitutional mandates.