By Chris Hattingh (MPL), DA Provincial Legislature Leader:
The real reasons driving the implosion of the Ventersdorp Local Municipality was revealed during a North West Public Accounts Committee Public Hearing during which the Auditor General’s Report on the municipality was interrogated.
The municipality, currently under administration, received its seventh consecutive Disclaimer Audit Opinion from the AG.
During the public hearing evidence that the municipality remains in a state of regression was presented and that issues identified in previous AG reports, (irregular, unauthorized and fruitless and wasteful expenditure) and recommendations were not only blatantly ignored but repeated year after year.
The AG reported:
- That no audit evidence (documentation) could be submitted to audit a whole series of auditable areas: Property, Plant and Equipment; Inventory, Debtors, Revenue, Expenditure, Capital Commitments etc.
- That the claims made in applications of appointed officials were not verified before appointment and that job descriptions were not established for all posts in which appointments were made.
- That on average creditors are being paid 392 days after the service was delivered.
- That debt collection stand at 289 days.
- That 42% of electricity bought by the municipality is lost.
- That 95,4% of water purchased by the municipality is lost and cannot be accounted for.
- That conditional grants are being underspent and was forfeited to Treasury. (9,1%)
Evidence that officials prevented councilors to enter the municipal offices for months was also put forward as a reasons for the dysfunctionality of the municipality.
It has become clear that the political instability in the council, the deployment of incompetent cadres into positions of authority can be regarded as the root problem of this failing municipality.
Only the acknowledgement of these facts can serve as a starting point to turn the municipality around. This should be followed by a skills and capacity audit, the training and capacitation of selected officials and the dismissal of officials appointed irregularly or on the basis of possible false qualifications or application forms.
The ANC’s attempts to address the cadre deployment fiasco it created in Ventersdorp by an attempt to amalgamate Ventersdorp with Potchefstroom will fail as it will not address the root of the problem – the incapacity of cadres and the vicious infighting between competing ANC factions.
The DA will use all resources to their disposal to stop the amalgamation and will approach the highest courts to stop the Demarcation Board in their quest to unite these two town. The DA will also not stop to inform the public of the problems in Ventersdorp and the wastage of tax payer’s money.