Auditor-General paints gloomy picture of municipalities

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke has painted a dire situation in municipalities. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke has painted a dire situation in municipalities. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 31, 2023


The Auditor-General, Tsakani Maluleke, has painted a gloomy picture on the state of finances of municipalities, saying they were continuing to deteriorate.

Maluleke said irregular expenditure was sitting at R30 billion and unauthorised and wasteful expenditure was at R4.7bn.

Only 38 municipalities got clean audits, 78 got qualified audit opinions and 104 received unqualified opinions, she said.

She said 203 municipalities did not have money to fix their infrastructure.

Municipalities continue to use consultants after they spent R1.6 billion this year compared with R1.3 billion last year.

She said 230 municipalities had used consultants and some of those municipalities are in a very bad financial situation.

Maluleke, who was briefing the standing committee on the auditor-general in Parliament on Wednesday, said there was also a lack of maintenance of infrastructure and dilapidated infrastructure could be seen across the country.

Even some of the water treatment plants have not been maintained by municipalities, she said.

There was an urgent need for leaders at local level to intervene.

Out of the nine provinces only the Free State and North West did not get clean audits.

“There is deterioration across the board, even in provinces where you see improvement there is concern that that improvement is not happening at the pace and with the type of impact that is required to stand the tide of deterioration of local government,” said Maluleke.

She said they were concerned about irregular expenditure.

This is the area where local government needs to jack up its systems.

She said the figure of R30 billion could be higher.

“Irregular expenditure this year is R30 billion. We often don’t talk much about that number. I have been at pains to say it’s actually incomplete and unreliable because this year we had 30% of municipalities qualified on the completeness of irregular expenditure.

“It tells you a story about the lack of discipline and the lack to operate within the rule of law,” said Maluleke.

Maluleke also said the unauthorised expenditure of R4.7 billion remained a serious concern.

She was also concerned about the lack of paper trails in procurement.

“The procurement area remains a place of leakage. Sometimes when you arrive in a municipality for documentation we don’t get that documentation.

“It should worry all of us.

“There should be no public institution that is unable to show how they arrived at a particular decision. We also see there are employees and councillors benefiting from procurement.

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