KZN municipalities blow almost R7 million on consultants

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA

Despite employing their own Accounting Officers, KwaZulu-Natal municipalities spent almost R7 million on consultants, brought in to prepare their 2012/13 financial statements ahead of scrutiny by the Auditor-General.

The damning figure forms part of a September parliamentary reply by COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube, to questions by the DA.

According to the reply, a total of 26 KZN municipalities used consultants.  Sixteen went on to receive unqualified audits, seven received qualified audits and three were given disclaimers.

Not one of the municipalities which used consultants received a clean audit.

When asked why consultants were used, the MEC’s answer of ‘a lack of capacity’ is cited in the vast majority of cases.

The DA is extremely disturbed by this.

It is clearly stipulated within MFMA regulations that a municipality’s accounting officer is responsible for the submission of the Annual Financial statements for audit.   The MEC’s statement – that the municipalities which received unqualified audits received value for money while the 10 that had disclaimers or qualified audits did not – displays a worrying grasp of this regulation.  This is supported by the fact that the use of consultants continues unabated with no apparent effort to curb it.

Never in the history of this province have municipalities been in such crisis.  Many have neither the capacity nor the will, to run their own affairs.

KwaZulu-Natal currently has six municipalities under administration.  Of a total of 61 municipalities, only one managed to receive a clean audit.  The use of consultants must be seen for what it is – a desperate last bid effort to save them from further financial ruin.

The DA expects the MEC to rein in municipalities – it is nothing short of criminal that millions are being paid to others for a job that should be done in-house.