Municipalities spent almost R790 million on consultants in the 2018/19 financial year.

This has emerged during a roundtable discussion on the City of Johannesburg’s recent annual report.

Municipalities used consultants even though they have financial departments and chief financial officers in their employ.

Several stakeholders including the Association of Public Accounts Committees (APAC) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) are attending the roundtable.

The APAC has expressed concern at the increasing use of consultants by municipalities.

APAC General-Secretary, Mbongeni Radebe, singled out municipalities in North West as the biggest culprits when it comes to the use of consultants paying R180 million in the last financial year.

Radebe says despite this not a single municipality got a clean audit in that year, only disclaimers and adverse findings from the Auditor-General. He says the challenge in municipalities is the shortage of critical skills.

Radebe bemoaned the lack of consequences for wrongdoing, adding that more needs to be done to ensure every cent spent is accounted for.

In the video below, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is identified as the worst in irregular expenditure