Call for city to sanction errant officials
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DURBAN - THE eThekwini Municipality should take punitive action against city officials who are not doing their jobs in order to ensure that the city achieves its ambition of efficient service and a clean audit.
That is the view of some opposition parties in the council after the staff from the office of the auditor-general tabled the city’s 2019/20 audit outcomes yesterday.
It showed that the municipality had achieved an unqualified audit with findings, the same audit finding it has received over the past three years.
While the overall audit outcome was positive, the A-G raised numerous concerns. The report also covered the city’s entities and found that some had regressed.
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said it was only the failure of the officials that stopped the city from getting a clean audit: “There is nothing stopping us from achieving a clean audit – we have done it before.”
He said officials should not be praised when they were not doing their jobs.
“The issues raised by the A-G are issues that were raised by our audit committee and should have been addressed, that is what we must demand that if a matter is raised, the officials come back to tell us what has been done to address it,” he said.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the audit was good news for the municipality.
“The report is a clear indication that we are on the right track,” he said.
ANC chief whip Sibongiseni Mkhize said while they saw the challenges, there were positive aspects to the audit.
“We want to assure the A-G that we will work to achieve a clean audit without compromising service,” he said.
The report, by Vanuja Maharaj, a corporate executive responsible for KwaZulu-Natal, stated that the ICC had received an unqualified audit with no findings, which was an improvement from an unqualified audit with findings.
The Durban Marine Theme Park received a qualified audit with findings, which was a regression from an unqualified audit with no findings over the past two financial years.
Maharaj warned the council to monitor this entity as it had also been hard hit by Covid-19.
The report found that among the challenges thwarting the city’s ability to obtain a clean audit was that the number of material issues had increased from six to eight with this audit.
They include that the municipality failed to comply with legislation as competitive bids were not advertised for the required minimum of 30 days.
♦ Procurement was not done through competitive bidding processes and deviations were approved when it was practical to invite bids.
♦ There was insufficient evidence to determine if contracts were awarded to bidders based on points given for criteria that were stipulated in the original invitation for bidding, or to determine if contracts were awarded to bidders based on pre-qualification criteria that were stipulated in the original invitation for bidding. The A-G warned that for the city to turn around its fortunes, the management should improve controls, implement effective consequence management to ensure officials are held accountable for their actions and implement proper record-keeping measures.
The report was not debated by parties, and would return at a later date.