Auditor-general ready to crack whip on corrupt municipalities
One of the powers of the auditor-general is to issue a certificate of debt to accounting officers and heads of departments for failing to take action where there have been cases of malfeasance.
The auditor-general can also refer cases to the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit and National Prosecuting Authority against corrupt officials.
Makwetu said it had become a useless exercise to issue audit reports every year when there was no action against corrupt officials.
“This amendment is saying there is something happening often in the financial statements to the extent to which there are indicators of possible abuse of public funds. What has been introduced is material irregularity,” said Makwetu.
He was addressing MPs on the Public Audit Act and when his officials will start implementing it.
He said in some of the audit outcomes there were millions of rands unaccounted for and no paper trail.
The act will force officials to act against corruption identified by the auditor-general in his reports.
Makwetu said in the past his recommendations had been ignored.
“If the remedial action is ignored, we will be in the territory of the certificate of debt (against the accounting officer) because we are empowered to find this money from you,” he said.
“Our teams are ready to go and audit where we will put these amendments into action,” said Makwetu.
He said senior officials would indicate how the new law was being applied. They needed to go to the municipalities and begin working.
He said there should be no questions about the powers he has in implementing the law and accounting officers must take action against people involved in corruption.
The municipalities have been struggling to survive with billions of rands in irregular expenditure every year.
The government has promised to clamp down on corruption in all municipalities and other departments.
But some municipalities were in financial distress.
The South African Municipal Workers Union claimed a few weeks ago that some municipalities had run out cash and had not paid their workers, including Amahlathi Municipality in the Eastern Cape.
Provincial departments have intervened and taken over the running of some of the financially troubled municipalities.
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