Chris Hattingh MPL
DA Leader in North West
The North West Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) today conducted a public hearing about the Auditor General’s (AG) Report on the Mafikeng Local Municipality’s 2012 Financial Statements. The AG’s formal “Disclaimer” opinion, for the 4th consecutive year, shows that Mafikeng’s finances are a mess.
The acting Executive Mayor, Potsho Tabane, concedes that things have gotten worse in Mafikeng, despite provincial interventions.
The AG reported that the municipality was unable to provide most of the required audit evidence, including audit evidence about income amounting to R326 475 732 and debtors of R486 267 298. This means that the municipality does not have the necessary paperwork to explain more than R800 million worth of movement on its books. This is an unacceptable situation that is highly conducive to corruption and maladministration.
The AG reported on irregular expenditure amounting to R36 983 972. The AG also reported that he was not able to clarify whether this was even the full extent of the irregular expenditure.
The AG further reported:
• Fruitless expenditure amounting to R5 270 237 -including the payment for salaries for staff members that did not report for work for 12 months.
• Material under spending of conditional grants of R33 470 434.
• Unauthorized expenditure amounting to R24 352 296 in the current year with another R87 457 118 unauthorized amount from previous years.
This all creates very fertile ground for fraud and corruption, and severely hampers the municipality’s ability to deliver services to the people. We need to stop the constant waste of money in this province. We must ensure that people get the services they need.
It is tragic that even as Mafikeng and other North West municipalities continue to waste millions on fruitless and wasteful expenditure, there are still many place in our province where people struggle to get access to water and other basic services.
The DA has suggested that a turnaround plan for Mafikeng should include an independent skills audit and a comprehensive cleanup of the administration. If we start by managing the money right, and rooting out corruption, we can improve services step-by-step in a sustainable way.