Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The DA welcomes the announcement by the Department of Finance to allocate R8 million for data cleansing in six Mpumalanga municipalities, and hopes this will pave the way for improved municipal finance management and revenue collection across the province.
According to finance MEC Madala Masuku, the funds will be used to improve certain problem areas in the selected municipalities. While no mention was made which municipalities would be assisted, the DA is certain that the decision was taken in the light of Mpumalanga municipalities’ dismal 2011/12 audit reports.
Only two municipalities obtained clean audits, with five receiving unqualified opinions, seven qualified, five disclaimers and two submitting after the deadline, and the Auditor-General identified supply chain and human resource management, quality of service delivery reports, quality of submitted financial statements and IT controls as key problem areas.
Data cleansing would go a long way in addressing certain aspects of these problem areas, as revenue streams will be increased as debtors are traced, assets identified and accounted for and hopefully supply chain management and procurement procedures become more transparent.
Service delivery will only improve if data cleansing is performed effectively and accurately, and that revenue is used to improve the lives of people. Considering local municipalities’ notorious reputation for fruitless, unnecessary and wasteful expenditure, the DA hopes that MEC Masuku and provincial treasury will have the necessary checks and balances in place to prevent this kind of practice.
Furthermore, if the data cleansing outcomes are successful in these targeted municipalities, the DA believes that it should be extended to the remaining 10, bringing Mpumalanga closer to achieving the objectives of Operation Clean Audit 2014.
DA councillors in all Mpumalanga’s municipalities will continue to monitor financial management and the revenue streams, and go to every length to ensure that the people benefit most.