‘Mr Clean Audits’ doesn’t disappoint yet again

Between 2017 and 2020, Mpe clinched clean audits in three consecutive years for the Capricorn district municipality.

Has “Mr Clean Audits” John Mpe, mayor for the Limpopo’s biggest municipality, lost his mojo or is he the right man for the job?

That is the question on everyone’s lips after Mpe’s council, the Polokwane municipality, failed to improve last year’s audit outcome but managed to save historical municipal millions, which saw the institution performing dismally in audits before his arrival.

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Between 2017 and 2020, Mpe clinched clean audits in three consecutive years for the Capricorn district municipality.

This performance earned him much needed points, which boosted his election as mayor to replace Thembi Nkadimeng.

However, Mpe was expected by many to use his skills and political prowess to improve the dismal audit performance of the council.

But Mpe did not disappoint. In his first two years, he managed to move the council’s audit opinion from qualified to unqualified.

But it was not enough to impress the Democratic Alliance (DA). “The mayor must practice what he preaches,” said DA caucus leader Jacques Joubert. The council had again received an unqualified audit report with findings.

“The debt book of the council has in December 2023 breached the R2 billion mark,” he said.

Municipal spokesperson Tshidiso Mothapo said the DA should be praising Mpe, instead of criticising him.

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“When he joined in 2020, this council had received five qualified audit opinions in the past five years. Since then, the municipality improved on its audits, scoring two unqualified opinions in two financial years. I am sure that is an improvement worth bragging about,” said Mothapo.

“In 2023, council adopted and implemented the recommendations of the forensic investigations into various acts of wrongdoing. One of the notable improvements is the reduction in findings raised by the AG.”

Furthermore, said Mothapo, the municipality had made concerted effort to address irregular expenditure. “We have already started a process for the Municipal Public Accounts Committee to investigate about R500 million of the cumulative amount classified as unwanted expenditure.

The councillor, Mothapo said, was also well aware that the R16 million referred to as fruitless and wasteful expenditure relating to non-delivery of buses was a matter under investigation by council.

“The fact is that the municipality is registering tremendous progress and making notable inroads towards improved financial management and AG findings,” he said.

Definition of findings:

• Clean audit outcome: The financial statements are free from material misstatements.

• Financially unqualified audit opinion: The financial statements contain no material misstatements.

• Qualified audit opinion: The financial statements contain material misstatements in specific amounts.

• Adverse audit opinion: The financial statements contain material misstatements that are not confined to specific amounts, or the misstatements represent a substantial portion of the financial statements.

• Disclaimer of audit: The auditee provided insufficient evidence in the form of documentation on which to base an audit opinion.

Note: This is an edited version of the article published on 9 February, with errors corrected. The Citizen apologises for any embarrassment caused.

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