Johannesburg - The Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu has vowed to crack the whip on rogue municipal officials including the big metropolitan councils for looting municipal funds and enrich themselves while leaving towns impoverished.
Makwetu made the commitment when he delivered the consolidated general report on the local government audit outcomes in Pretoria on Wednesday. His outburst came after these municipalities including Joburg and Ethekwini and Cape Town as well as Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in the Eastern Cape are among the municipality which was unable to drastic drop irregular expenditure which amounted to R25 billion in the 2017/2018 financial year. It was a drop of R2bn compared to the 2016/2017 financial year but Makhwetu remained unimpressed with the low reduction.
“I have a team of auditors and accountants who have the ability to identify the risks. We do not need whistleblowers. We are doing to identify the material irregularities and act on them. Accounting officers such as municipal managers will be summoned to a special committee to account for the irregularities before we could report them to other bodies for further investigations and possible prosecution,” Makwetu vowed.
He was adamant that he would act on these rogue officials after he was given powers through the newly introduced Public Audit Act.
He visibly appeared irritated the lowest number of municipalities in the country - 18 of them which received clean audit outcomes. The Western Cape had the highest number 12 of them. In Gauteng it was the usual Midvaal Local Municipality Municipality. Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape.
Makwetu was adamant that the audit outcome had significantly regressed after he audited 257 municipalities including 21 municipal entities.
He said the amount of R25bn of irregular expenditure could even be higher saying “46% of the municipalities were either qualified on the incomplete disclosure of irregular expenditure or disclosed in the financial statements that they did not know the full extent of irregular expenditure,” he said.
He said the total R17.3 billion (81%) of the irregular expenditure related to expenses incurred during 2017/2018 - representing 5% of the local government expenditure budget.
“This total includes R6.4 billion in payments made on contracts irregularly awarded in previous years - if the con-compliance was not investigated and condoned, the payments on these multi year continued to be viewed and disclosed as irregular expenditure.
He said other municipalities failed to submit their annual reports by May 31. 2019, of all audits completed, saying only municipalities in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape have fully complied with this Municipal Finance Management Act prescript - all registering a 100% tabling rate,” Makwetu said.