Editor's noteOpinion

Do away with non-performing municipalities

OUT of 278 municipalities across South Africa, only nine had clean audits.

The total irregular expenditure amounted to R9.82 billion, while fruitless and wasteful expenditure reached R568 million. This is more than double from the previous year.

Auditor-General Terence Nombembe said the lack of committed leadership was behind a sharp deterioration in financial management in municipalities.

He commended the local authorities of George, Langeberg and Mossel Bay for proving that clean administration was achievable where there was leadership commitment. These municipalities are in the Western Cape and controlled by the DA. This raises questions about leadership of the 275 other municipalities, mostly controlled by the ANC.

The message for taxpaying South Africans or economically active foreign nationals is that there is about R568 million of their money that government wasted. The people you voted into power also cannot account for R9.82 billion you worked very hard for.

Back home, the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market (renamed Joburg Market) was among the three municipal entities that received clean audits, the other two being in Durban.

The City of Johannesburg also owns City Power, Johannesburg City Parks, Joburg Theatre Complex, Johannesburg Development Agency, Johannesburg Property Company, Johannesburg Social Housing Company, Johannesburg Roads Agency, Johannesburg Tourism Company, Johannesburg Water, Johannesburg Zoo, Metrobus, Metro Trading Company, Pikitup and Roodepoort Theatre.

These entities are supposed to make Johannesburg, the city that prides itself in being the heartbeat of economy in Africa, work.

Earlier this year, Mayor Parks Tau presented what is probably the highest budget of all metropolitan areas on the continent. Does he know how the money is being spent?

Tau is not a bad Mayor, but his reputation is being tarnished by people he has tasked with managing these entities. Bad leadership breeds poor and irregular spending, which in turn results in poor service delivery, prompting residents to stage mass and violet protests.

In the interest of good governance, municipalities should learn from each other irrespective of political leadership and help each other in the interest of the general South African community. George, Langeberg and Mossel Bay’s local authorities should be asked to share their knowledge.

Should this fail, the municipal tier government should be scrapped, as it does nothing but breed corruption and provide refuge for bad leaders pushing their agendas and those of their political masters.

Government could consider changing municipal boundaries and do away with local authorities that don’t perform. Otherwise, and a last desperate measure, get the Democratic Alliance to run all municipalities.

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