Steps taken to help towns out of mire

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Terence Nombembe

Independent Newspapers.

Auditor General Terence Nombembe. Photo: Leon Nicholas.

Cape Town - Seven municipalities had neither a municipal manager nor a chief financial officer up until March, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs has said.

Department officials were in Parliament on Tuesday to tell the oversight committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs what it had done to help municipalities that received poor reports from Auditor-General Terence Nombembe.

In July, Nombembe revealed that only 5 percent of municipalities had achieved clean audits, a figure that excluded the major metros.

In the 2010/11 financial year, at least six municipalities received disclaimers - the worst possible audit outcome, pointing to such shoddy bookkeeping that the auditor-general was unable to form an opinion about the correctness of financial statements.

On Tuesday, co-operative governance officials said seven municipalities - Bela-Bela, Ngwathe, Sekhukhune, Nala, Renosterberg, Kamiesberg and Dikgatlong - had had neither a municipal manager nor a chief financial officer until March.

But about 202 municipal managers and 218 chief financial officers had now been appointed with the help of the department.

It had also run workshops on credit control and debt collection with the SA Local Government Association at 39 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, 18 in the Northern Cape, 18 in the Eastern Cape, eight in Limpopo and 13 in the Western Cape.

According to the Municipal Finance Management Act, the accounting officer of a municipality must prepare and submit its annual financial statements within two months after the end of the municipal financial year on June 30.

Any submission after August 30 is viewed under the act as non-compliance.

Based on information from the auditor-general there were 12 municipalities in 2011/12 whose financial statements were still outstanding as at November 2.

These included Ngwathe, Nala and Masilonyana in Free State, Bela-Bela and Sekhukhune in Limpopo, Dikgatlong, Renosterberg, Kamiesberg, Karoo Hoogland and Mier in the Northern Cape, and Kannaland and Swellendam in the Western Cape.

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