MISSION POSSIBLE: auditor-general Terence Nombembe’s qualified audits for municipalities have jolted KZN into action. Picture: NHLANHLA MNGADI
The move by the provincial government to get clean audits in all its municipalities is set to begin soon with a visit to all affected councils by members of the cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) portfolio committee.
The members are set to embark on a fact-finding mission to establish challenges faced by various municipalities in the province. The visit is in pursuance of the province’s vision of good governance and achieving clean audits for all municipalities next year.
There are 61 municipalities in the province and only a few have been getting clean audits from the auditor-general (AG) in recent years.
Explaining further about the exercise, the committee’s chairperson, Nonzwakazi Swaartbooi, said they wanted to identify difficulties in municipalities that received disclaimers from the AG and what kind of interventions could be made.
Swaartbooi fended off accusations of potential interference and said they were just carrying out a mandate given to them as members of the provincial legislature.
The committee will be checking various issues as well as establishing if all councils had functioning municipal public accounts committees. The fact-finding committee will be accompanied by the chairperson of the KZN legislature’s standing committee on public accounts, Sipho Nkosi.
“We are also concerned about the performance of certain municipalities. For example you will find that a municipality which receives a disclaimer from the AG is far ahead in terms of service delivery as compared to a municipality that received a clean audit,” Swaartbooi said.
The fact-finding mission could spark tensions between local rival political parties who had previously accused the ruling party of interfering in areas where the ANC was not in power.
The committee could also be in for a rude shock during their mission if a report tabled during the launch of the monitoring committees on municipalities in January this year is anything to go by.
In it, the committee painted a gloomy picture about certain councils and conceded that most councillors were scared to question their leaders such as mayors and executive committee members or to ask them to account for their decisions.