File picture: Pixabay
File picture: Pixabay

Cash-strapped Limpopo municipality splurged R500 000 on bottled water

By Kenneth Mokgatlhe Time of article published Feb 23, 2020

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Johannesburg - The cash-strapped Fetakgomo-Greater Tubatse Local Municipality in Limpopo, which spent almost R500 000 on bottled water for its staff has received another qualified audit for 2018/19.

According to the documents in possession of the Sunday Independent, the troubled municipality paid R476 000 for drinking water for the municipality.

But the council claims to have no knowledge of the service provider.

“The office was not aware about the appointment of the service provider,” reads the supply chain management report.

The auditor-general’s office made a presentation before a second ordinary council meeting on January 29.

The DA has accused the municipality, which lost nearly R245 million in irregular investment with the now defunct VBS Mutual Bank, of awarding contracts to family and friends of senior officials within the municipality.

DA councillor Lethabile Kgwedi said he believes the municipality was supposed to obtain disclaimer or adverse opinion.

“I even asked the delegate from the AG if he was given a ‘brown envelope’ to doctor the audit of our municipality.

“I am saying so because the record-keeping is very poor. At times you can’t find certain financial documents,” said Kgwedi.

In a letter sent to the municipal manager on Wednesday, the DA blamed the municipality for contravening section 11 of municipal supply chain management regulations.

The opposition party further called for the institution of the forensic investigations, which should be concluded within 90 days.

The auditor-general’s report reads: “I was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence that management properly accounted for expenditure incurred due to the status of the accounting records and non-submission of information to support expenditure that was processed through debit orders and journals.

“I was unable to confirm expenditure incurred by alternative means. Consequently, I was unable to determine whether any adjustments to contracted services expenditure amount stated at R83524254 and general expenses amount stated at R52011443 were necessary.”

The municipality failed to respond to questions sent to it earlier in the week.

Unisa political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni said the auditor-general’s office was as important as any other Chapter9 institution.

“There is a new legislature which gives greater power. It looks like there is a prospect if well applied. Once the auditor-general has highlighted irregularities, it then becomes the responsibility of the law enforcement agency to act swiftly. Inaction may not necessarily mean that the office is ineffective, the auditor-general makes findings.”

The Sunday Independent

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