DA calls for skills audit of senior provincial and municipal civil servants

David van Vuuren MPL

DA Chief Whip in the Free State Provincial Legislature

The DA calls on a full skills audit of all senior civil servants within provincial departments, municipalities and all public entities in the Free State.

This follows the damning AG Report on Municipal Audit Outcomes for the Free State earlier this year showing that all Free State municipalities and municipal entities fail to operate within the legislative framework of the Municipal Finance Management Act (Act No 56 of 2003).

I will be writing to the chair of the Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts and Finance, Mr Neels van Rooyen, requesting that the committee calls on COGTA MEC, Me Olly Mlamaleli, and Finance MEC, Me Elzabe Rockman, to coordinate a full skills and qualifications audit of all senior civil servants at all provincial departments, municipalities and public entities.

The report highlights that governance overall regressed in the 2012/13 financial year. Many entities face a shortage of skilled and qualified civil servants, while senior civil servants like Municipal Managers, Chief Financial Officers and Supply Chain Management Officers are under-qualified and inexperienced.

The ANC does not have the political will to conduct effective and conclusive performance management evaluations with regards to the performance of senior civil servants. In addition, where serious misconduct was uncovered, they failed to deal with these instances through an investigative and disciplinary process, with further failure to implement sanctions and initiate criminal proceedings against compromised individuals.

While the AG report shows some marginal improvement in audit outcomes, the improvements are far too little considering the extent of financial and administrative mismanagement within local government structures. The AG noted that there is no relation between the decline of disclaimers to the status of key controls which raised serious questions on the sustainability of audit outcomes.

This means that although, on paper, there seems to be an improvement in governance, this does not translate to the benefit of residents, especially with no improvement on the delivery of basic municipal services.

Household debt climbed to R6.7 billion of which only R1.3 billion is recoverable over a period of one and half years. A total of 16 municipalities underspent on their budgets resulting in an increased prevalence of service delivery protests.

The DA has long maintained that the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment contributes directly to poor service delivery, poor governance, corruption, and irregular and wasteful expenditure.