An expert on matters of local governance, Miyelani Mkhabela, has attributed poor performance in municipalities to the appointment of officials that are not qualified enough to deal with financial matters.

This is as the Auditor-General’s report on the 2019-20 municipal audit outcomes shows that only 27 municipalities out of 257 countrywide, received clean audits. Irregular expenditure is said to be at R26 billion.

In the North West, 12 of the province’s 22 municipalities failed to submit their financial statements for auditing.

Those that submitted have received qualified reports.

Mkhabela says municipalities must ensure that they appoint competent officials.

“Municipalities are expected to hire qualified staff in financial departments so that they are able to prepare for financial statements that are required by the Auditor-General. It is within each and every municipality to ensure that the HR department identifies competent staff that will be part of their team,” says Mkhabela.

Auditor-General’s key outcomes on the financial status of SA municipalities:

Spokesperson for the African National Congress (ANC) IPC Kenny Morolong hopes that the situation will improve after the local government elections.

Morolong says, “Clearly over the years there has been no proactive action in dealing with control weaknesses and in prior years. There have been glaring accountability failures and absolutely no consequence management. The IPC has reflected on all these matters. No doubt the ANC will have to ensure that it will during these forthcoming local government elections deploy skilful, knowledgeable and ethical leaders as public representatives who will bring much needed stability and ensure that our municipalities exercise required financial prudence.”