What happened to Operation Clean Audit in Mpumalanga?

By Bosman Grobler, MPL, DA Spokesperson on CoGTA:

Municipalities in Mpumalanga have failed to achieve their target of obtaining 100% clean audit outcomes for the 2013/14 financial year; this after the national department of Cooperative Governance launched Operation Clean Audit in 2009 which promised that all municipalities would achieve 100% clean audits by 2014.

Of the province’s 21 municipalities, only Steve Tshwete local municipality and Ehlanzeni district municipality have managed to achieve clean audits.

According to the Auditor General the overall audit outcomes of Mpumalanga have regressed since the 2007/08 financial year, with far fewer auditees now in the clean or unqualified column.

The AG also states that, “Although some municipalities improved their audit outcomes over the period (2007/08 – 2013/14), regressions by others had a negative impact on the overall audit outcomes of the province.”

  • Unauthorised expenditure stands at R740 million for the 2013/14 financial year. This is an increase of R199 million from the previous financial year’s R 541 million.
  • Unauthorised expenditure to the value of R859 million from previous financial years is yet to be investigated and dealt with as required by the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).
  • Irregular expenditure increased significantly (from 2012/13’s R445 million) to R557 million this year. This is more than double the 2011/12 financial year figure which was R204 million.
  • 032 billion of irregular expenditure from previous financial years is yet to be investigated and dealt with in accordance with the MFMA.
  • The cost of fruitless and wasteful expenditure has more than doubled in the 2013/14 financial year where it was recorded at R 118 million. This figure was recorded at R 50 million and R 23 million in the 2012/13 and 2011/12 financial years respectively.
  • There were 1 210 instances of fruitless and wasteful expenditure in 2013/14, compared to 313 in the previous financial year. This indicates that municipalities did not exercise due diligence, resulting in wasteful expenditure that could have been avoided.
  • R 58 million of wasteful expenditure from previous financial years is yet to be investigated and dealt with in accordance with the MFMA.

To disguise this financial calamity, the ANC in Mpumalanga, abandoned its Operation Clean Audit objectives for the next publicity stunt: Back to Basics. What is clear is that neither of these programs has worked, and the finances of Mpumalanga Local Municipalities are at their most critical state ever.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the ANC’s “cadre deployment strategy” is failing dismally because only 33% of Municipal Managers and 60% of Chief Financial Officers meet the required competency levels.

What the citizens of Mpumalanga need are municipalities staffed by professional, qualified and competent officials, who are dedicated to serving the people and delivering quality basic services. The DA delivers on its mandate as can be seen in all municipalities that we govern, including the DA-run Western Cape Province, which has once again topped the list of provinces with the number of municipalities receiving clean audits.

A DA led government will curb wasteful expenditure which will in turn make government-run entities more efficient and ensure that audit outcomes are clean.