Five out of 13.
That’s the number of KwaZulu-Natal municipalities that obtained clean audit reports for the 2010/11 financial year – an improvement when compared to the previous year where no municipality in the province had received a clean audit.
Emadlangeni, Richmond, uMtshezi, uMzinyathi and uMdoni, along with eight municipalities from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the Western Cape are the only municipalities in the country to achieve the feat.
Most municipalities that received unqualified audits were also in the province.
There are 343 municipalities in the country.
Despite the clean audits, Auditor-General Terence Nombembe said there had been a deterioration in outcomes because seven municipalities received qualified audit opinions.
Forty-seven municipalities received unqualified audit with findings, one received a disclaimer and another received an adverse audit opinion.
There are 61 municipalities in KZN, comprising of one metro (eThekwini), 10 district and 50 local municipalities.
The province also has seven municipal entities, including uShaka Marine World and the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre.
Nombembe said the high number of municipalities with unqualified reports was an indication of the will and conviction of the provincial leadership and municipalities to achieve clean audits.
“With a greater effort to strengthen controls with special focus on mitigating shortcomings in the high-risk areas, the province has a better chance of converting the 80 percent unqualified reports to clean audits,” he said.
Congratulating the five municipalities, ANC provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, said the achievement was an indication that the province was a shining example of excellent service delivery in the country.
Nombembe, however, cautioned the province on the “high-risk” areas that needed urgent attention including the supply chain management, service delivery reporting, human resource management, information technology controls and the quality of financial information.
“The unique matters in the province revolve around three pivotal issues. The first is the need for a co-ordinated approach at provincial legislature level by the public accounts committee and portfolio committees responsible for municipal oversight to critically comprehend their oversight responsibilities,” he said,
Nombembe added that this would enable the legislature to timeously identify, track and resolve endemic matters as and when they occur long before the auditors identify the issues.
The second issue, said Nombembe, was the lack of competencies and skills of officials in key positions in 61 percent of municipalities.
“This gives rise to a high level of dependence on external assistance,” he said.
The province paid R79.8 million for consultants, the report revealed.
Nombembe said the co-ordination between the Department of Co-operative Governance and the provincial Treasury needed to be strengthened to effectively and efficiently channel their resources and guidance to municipalities.