Premier Mabuza promises Auditor-General improvements on municipal performance
10 July 2014
Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has promised the new Auditor-General Mr Kimi Makwetu, that soon there will be improvements on municipal performance following bad audit outcomes of the provincial local government.
Speaking at a meeting with the Auditor-General in Mbombela today [Thursday, 10 July 2014], Premier Mabuza committed to improve the audit outcomes of Mpumalanga province local government.
Mabuza added that he fully trusted the capabilities of the new members of the executive for the departments of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, and finance respectively, in providing the necessary support to the municipalities.
The Auditor-General had earlier told the Premier that five municipalities in the province received the disclaimers in the 2012-2013 audit findings. The municipalities are Thaba Chweu, Bushbuckridge, Mkhondo, Msukaligwa and Emalahleni. It was only Steve Tshwete local municipality and Ehlanzeni District Municipality that received clean audits.
The Auditor-General once again pointed out at the lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions, slow response by leadership to address the root causes of poor performance and non filling-in of key vacant positions or key officials lacking appropriate competences.
According to the Auditor-General, the Ehlanzeni District Municipality was stable as the excellent working relationship between political and administrative leadership contributed in it to receive a clean audit outcome.
Instability and lack of appropriate skills and competencies resulted in the lack of significant improvement in the overall audit outcomes of Mbombela, Nkomazi and Umjindi municipalities in Ehlanzeni district. Prolonged vacancies at senior management level at Thaba Chweu and Bushbuckridge led to the breakdown in controls for which led to the disclaimers.
In the Nkangala district, the support by the political leadership and commitment of stable management resulted in the third consecutive clean audit outcome for Steve Tshwete Municipality.
The Auditor-General added that the Nkangala District Municipality was providing support to the local municipalities in terms of appointment of consultants and secondment of staff where there was a need.
Lack of alignment between the administration and the council resulted in the lack of improvement in the material control weaknesses, which led to a disclaimer at Emalahleni local municipality.
The Auditor-General further explained that Emakhazeni Municipality failed to attract people with the right skills at key management positions, which resulted to a qualification. Delays in filling of vacancies of municipal managers at Victor Khanye, Dr J S Moroka and Nkangala contributed to the ineffective monitoring of internal controls.
Again the instability, lack of skills and competencies in senior management resulted to lack of significant improvement in the overall audit outcomes in the Gert Sibande District.
The district provided support to the struggling local municipalities through appointment of consultants and secondment of staff. Failure of filling the vacancies of managers at Msukaligwa continued to contribute to the deterioration in the internal control environment.
“This is a very bad picture of ourselves, it is not something that should make us happy. In our case, we were distracted by the elections, we tried to find our footing with the municipalities, but we had to disengage and concentrate on campaigning. In as much as we may want to shift the blame to the municipalities, we would like to take the blame too as a provincial government.
“What we have identified as our weaknesses, is that our support to the municipalities had been very much ad-hoc, we provided support in a form of damage control. Sometimes our support has been disruptive in the operations of the municipalities. We are therefore restructuring the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs in order to be able to provide a permanent support to the municipalities.
“Going forward we are going to act against poor performance. It is either we act or get swallowed. We must take drastic actions because there is an indication from the leadership of the municipalities that there is lack of willingness,” said Mabuza.
The Premier appreciated the constant support to the provincial government by the office of the Auditor-General adding that quality leadership remained a challenge for the municipalities.
“In the main, our biggest challenge is a lack of good leadership. As politicians, we get elected by the people, whether we will be able to do the work in the government institutions is another matter.
“We are a point where we must do an introspection as we believe it is discouraging even on the side of the Auditor-General to keep on raising one matter time and again, and see no results.
“The only hope I have is that we have a new blood and fresh energy in the two members of the executive for the departments of finance and cooperative governance and traditional affairs, certainly by the time the Auditor-General comes back again, he will spot the improvement on the business of the municipalities.
“I am prepared to give our people the best they deserve, we cannot afford to be counted amongst bad, indeed there is no miracle here, we can succeed as a provincial government only when we do things right,” said Mabuza.
Issued by Zibonele Mncwango
Spokesperson: Mpumalanga Premier
Mpumalanga Provincial Government
Office of the Premier
Tel: (013) 766 2453
Mobile: 079 491 0163
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