Consultancy fees soar as Municipal skills drain continues

Bosman Grobler MPL

Spokesperson for COGTA

Municipalities in Mpumalanga are paying millions of rands to consultants. This is largely caused by the skills shortage being experienced by municipalities. Over R50 million rand has been spent by 17 municipalities to acquire the services of consultants.

Of significance, are the following Municipalities who spent as follows on consultants;

  • Bushbuckridge Local Municipality that spent R8 395 951
  • Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality that spent R 6 385 418
  • Dr Pixley Ka IsakaSeme Local Municipality that spent R 3 858 580
  • Govan Mbeki Local Municipality that spent R 4 984 292
  • Mkhondo Local Municipality that spent R 5 664 932
  • Msukaligwa Local Municipality that spent R11 329 734

Consultants have cost taxpayers a sum of R51 692 246 in 17 municipalities. The increased use of consultants is a mirror reflection of the skills shortage that is plaguing municipalities. Municipalities are incapable of executing the mandate given to them and are simply losing too many skilled administrators, often due to ANC political instability and faction fighting. Skilled personnel are often replaced with less competent or poorly qualified loyal ANC cadres.

The Auditor General’s report on audit outcomes for 2012-13 has pointed out key problems affecting municipalities. Namely, of the 17 municipalities that used consultants only one received a clean audit, one other received an unqualified audit with findings, 11 received a qualified with findings and four received a disclaimer of opinion. The AG has pointed out his concerns about the continued regress of audit outcomes over the past three years. The Auditor General’s report further stated that the main reason for continued use of consultants by the municipalities was because municipal officials lacked the required skills.

Funds earmarked for improved service delivery are being channelled to consultants who often produce very little results for residents. If this matter is not addressed municipalities will continue to suffer and fail to deliver quality basic services where they are most needed. Local government is a key sphere of government which touches the lives of many vulnerable South Africans. However it seems the ANC is more intent on wasting capital than improving the lives of our people.

The Democratic Alliance will submit written questions to the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, MEC Mtshweni on how the recommendations made by the AG have been implemented and what measures she has taken to solve the increase in the use of consultants in these municipal districts.