Limpopo municipalities urged to improve after 26 councils fail to get clean audit

The Auditor-General singled out five municipalities in Limpopo to have had a very disappointing financial year.

While the number of clean audits for the 2020-21 financial year in the country’s 257 municipalities increased from 32 to 41, only one municipality of Limpopo’s 27 councils received a clean audit from the office of the Auditor-General (AG) Tsakani Maluleke.

The Waterberg district municipality was praised by the AG as the only council in Limpopo that proved beyond any shadow of doubt to have had a good understanding of municipal financial spending.

Although it is the only council with a clean audit, Maluleke lauded the province as a whole for slight improvements, as compared to the North West and the Eastern Cape, where not a single council received a clean audit.

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One of the AG’s biggest concerns was that municipalities in Limpopo had in the past five years spent more than R971 million on consultants to perform the functions that were supposed to be performed by municipal officials.

She said the payments were released in spite of the fact that the very same councils had employed officials to perform financial reporting for their municipalities.

The AG singled out five municipalities in Limpopo to have had a very disappointing financial year.

These were Musina, Ba-Phalaborwa, Modimolle-Mookgophong, Thabazimbi and Mopani. Maluleke said the poor performance had remained the same in the latter three for a considerable number of financial years.

Of the five councils, two are led by a coalition while three are led by the ANC.

ANC Limpopo spokesperson, Jimmy Machaka, called on all municipalities to be hands on deck and improve their audit outcomes.

He said the party was disappointed in some councils that had regressed in their perfomance.

A factor, according to Machaka, that contributed to the regression was failure to fill critical positions such as chief financial officer and municipal managers.

READ MORE: AG’s Report: Municipal finances a dumpster fire, while consultants laugh all the way to the bank

Machaka pleaded with the departments of cooperative governance, human settlements and the Limpopo provincial Treasury to extend a helping hand in improving the dismal perfomance.

He said the party will work hand-in-glove with government in ensuring that those councils that have regressed implement the recommendations of the AG to improve their perfomance .

The provincial chairperson in the Limpopo Legislature of the standing committee on public accounts, Rodgers Monama, commended the province for certain improvements, saying under the vibrant leadership of premier Stan Mathabatha, the provincial government has moved from the R2.7 billion unauthorised expenditure in 2012 to better financial health.

Of all the municipalities in the country, 193 were responsible for fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R1.96 billion during the period under review.

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