Adjustment Appropriation Bill Votes

Masizole Mnqasela, MPP

DA Spokesperson on Local Government

Honourable Speaker

I welcome this debate and more funds have been appropriated to capacitate the Community Development Worker Unit (CDW) in the Department, especially the operational support in various municipalities where CDWs are based.

CDWs serves as an important link between government and the communities. Their best place in this department, due to its transversal nature. Speaker, through this programme, linking it with to Thusong Centers, especially the mobile facilities, guarantees access to government services.

Even far-flung communities of Ceres, Beaufort West, Lambertsbaai, Laingsburg, Eden, as well as Pearly Beach, can enjoy the same services as those who live in town. This works better when money is appropriated to governments who spend it wisely.

Money has been appropriated towards assisting with governance, monitoring and capacity building in municipalities.

R1 180 000 and R9.2million has been appropriated towards strengthening internal controls in municipalities, as well as Municipal Support Transversal Projects. We mean business.

This is what I call the “DA Grinding Blue Machine”.

This can be attributed to the quality of leadership and good governance practices as well as the Western Cape Treasury’s Municipal Governance Review Outlook (MGRO) process, which is an initiative aimed at improving clean governance in municipalities.

The MGRO process solely focuses on attaining clean governance and thus reducing negative audit outcomes. An important aspect is the concentration on the Governance Action Plans (Gap) prepared by municipalities and to what extent it is supported by the Western Cape government. Gap has two components: what the municipality needs to do to realise good governance and what the provincial Treasury and the provincial Department of Local Government need to do to support the municipality to achieve improved audit outcomes.

Gaps cover a range of aspects, including objectives, financial statements, IT controls, expenditure management, HR management, supply-chain management, asset management and internal controls.

While the MGRO process had a positive impact on the audit outcomes, two areas of concern highlighted by the auditor-general will receive attention during the year: the slow response in addressing the root cause of poor audit outcomes and the lack of consequences

Public representatives and government officials must accept that they are responsible to all citizens for their decisions and actions.

The National Development Plan (NDP) makes a strong case for what it calls “The Capable State”. It argues that to achieve the vision, we will have to “strengthen delegation, accountability and oversight and make it easier for citizens to hold public servants and politicians accountable, particularly for the quality of service delivery”.

The Auditor-General, indicated that huge increases on hiring consultants to assist municipalities did not contribute to better audit outcomes in 2012/13 financial year, but in the Western Cape the picture is different. We have steadfastly improved our municipal audits to 18 clean audit outcomes from 11 clean last year. This is the highest ever head in this province and their entire country. I said this is the Grinding Blue Machine.

We spent some good money on consultants to better these outcomes and now we are reaping the fruits.  Where the ANC is in charge, things are bad. Kannaland, Oudtshoorn and Beaufort West have painted a bleak picture – as with the other provinces where the ANC is in government. The rest of the country also struggles to attract good investments, while the Western Cape is inundated with the influx of requests for investment from strategic growth sectors of our economy.

Speaker, let me make this observation about some parts of the country. It is worth making this point that in KZN for instance:

  • 80% of municipalities did not comply with generally recognised accounting practice
  • 70% municipalities had to restate figures because of errors in the previous financial year
  • 49% reported irregular expenditure
  • 42% of municipalities were reported to have conducted investigations or have investigations in progress relating to alleged procurement fraud, financial misconduct, theft of money and mismanagement of funds
  • R1.5 billion of unauthorised expenditure
  • R5 billion of irregular expenditure and over R28 million on fruitless and wasteful expenditure over the past three year. This is hardly a good story given the current financial squeeze facing the province.

In Gauteng, for instance, in total, irregular and wasteful expenditure amounted to almost R800 million in the three metros, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni alone.
This is R800million of misappropriation, bad management and poor leadership.

In comparison, the DA-run Midvaal municipality has shown no irregular or wasteful expenditure and has received an unchanged, unqualified audit outcome over the past 6 years. This year, the Municipality of Midvaal has received a clean audit.

It is no secret that in Midvaal, where the DA governs, live is better – as is the case in the Western Cape.

The only hope for the future that South Africans have, honourable Speaker, is the Democratic Alliance.

Treasury has indicated that municipalities do not co-operate with interventions to obtain clean audits. Why then spend R20 million on hiring consultants?

Northern Cape municipalities spent R45 million on consultants without any significant improvement in audit outcomes. Spending on consultants to assist with financial reporting increased with 50%. Yet out of the 27 municipalities that were audited, 13 municipalities still received disclaimers. And of this 13, 11 have been receiving disclaimer audits since the 2008/09 financial year.  Speaker, this is a disaster.

Kubi!!! (It’s tough)