Fred Nel MPL
Spokesperson on Local Government
Gauteng municipalities collectively wasted R3.08 billion in public money according to recent figures released by the Auditor-General. The three metros combined wasted 92% of this, with the biggest culprit Johannesburg squandering 57% of the total wastage in Gauteng, followed by Tshwane’s 20% and Ekurhuleni’s 15%.
This was revealed in the Auditor General’s report on the audit outcomes for Gauteng municipalities for the 2011/12 financial year. This figure is the combined total between identified unauthorised1, irregular2 and fruitless and wasteful3 expenditure for the year under review.
Among the local municipalities Mogale City performed the worst contributing almost 4% to overall wastage.
The worst performing municipalities in Gauteng, if wastage is measured as a percentage of its total budget for the year under review are Mogale City (7,6%), Westonaria (5,8%), Johannesburg (5,5%) and Randfontein (5,4%).
The DA-led Midvaal was the only local municipality in Gauteng that did not waste a cent of public money, while Sedibeng was the only district municipality.
The impact of R3 billion taken out of potential municipal service delivery in Gauteng cannot be overstated.
This huge loss points to a lack of internal controls in Gauteng municipalities and is also indicative of their financial management problems.
If this trend is not turned around very quickly Gauteng may be faced with various municipalities who can no longer pay their bills due to money being wasted. This will require the provincial and national government to bail out these municipalities: a definite risk that requires deliberate mitigation.
Municipal losses also impacts on the economic growth of both municipalities and the province. The effective utilisation of resources in the delivery of services to communities is an important job creator and when monies go a begging, economic growth, required for job creation, is stunted.
The DA calls on Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe to undertake for an urgent and in-depth discussion with the provincial legislature portfolio committee on local government on what the provincial government will do to turn the tide against wastage.