Partial government intervention in Emfuleni did not benefit community: AG

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The Office of the Auditor General (AG) says the Gauteng government’s partial intervention in Emfuleni, Sedibeng district, has not benefited the community.

In the briefing to the National Council of Provinces Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on Friday, the AG said there had in fact been a regression in some cases.

The committee was briefed ahead of its oversight visit to the Tshwane and Johannesburg metros as well as the Emfuleni Local Municipality.

The Gauteng government placed Emfuleni under partial administration in 2021 to try and get its fiscal administration in order, however, the intervention was terminated 18 months later.

No positive changes

During the briefing, members wanted to know why this intervention was ended. They pointed out that the situation there has not improved.

AG official responsible for the Emfuleni Audit, Nerosen Nekhensani says he agrees that the intervention had not brought about any positive changes.

“What we did not realise was any benefit from this process. We still see even a regression from what was there initially, specifically over the finances…impacting the community as well.”

In the report below, residents dumped garbage at Emfuleni Municipal offices: 

Regression and stagnation

In all three municipalities, the AG says, there is either regression or stagnation in terms of financial controls. Tshwane has seen its audit outcome move from unqualified to adverse. Members wanted to know if political instability played any role in poor financial performance.

Dumisani Cebekhulu, who oversees the auditing of municipalities in Gauteng, says constant changes in the council do have a negative impact.

“Often when there’s a new leadership, committees have to be reconstituted again. Then you see as it relates to consequence management, the overall leadership as it relates to consequence management…that is the impact of having such instability.”