Mayor James Nxumalo, fourth from left in front, is flanked by members of eThekwini councils executive committee, as they walk down Dr Pixley KaSeme (West) Street to the city hall. The event marked the official opening of the council for the year and to celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy.

Durban - eThekwini Municipality has failed to get a clean audit for the sixth year in a row, the latest auditor-general’s report reveals.

The report, tabled at the full sitting of the eThekwini council on Wednesday, showed the municipality had been responsible for R325 million in irregular expenditure.

Vanuja Maharaj, the auditor-general’s business executive in KwaZulu-Natal, said the irregular expenditure was mainly as a result of contracts awarded to suppliers which were in contravention of municipal supply chain management regulations.

The report also revealed the municipality’s water loss stood at R513m and the electricity loss amounted to R386m.

All eight of South Africa’s major metros had failed to get clean audits.

Only 17 out of 278 municipalities received clean audits, otherwise known as unqualified audits.

Maharaj said the eThekwini Municipality had underspent R597m of conditional grants by the national government.

“As a consequence the municipality has not achieved its target – Phase 1 of the Integrated Rapid Transport Network. In addition with reference to financial statements the municipality underspent on its capital budget by R792m,” she said.

The city began the first phase of the transport network late last year, after the auditor-general’s report was finalised.

Maharaj said when it came to findings on reporting on predetermined objectives which affected service delivery, the municipality had fallen short.

She said measures taken to improve performance information were not supported by sufficient appropriate evidence and reported objectives were not consistent with planned objectives. Of the 107 planned projects for the year, 35, or 32 percent, were not achieved.

Maharaj said the auditor-general had also established that employees of the municipality whose close family members had business interests in contracts awarded by the municipality had not disclosed their interests.

“The municipality has not implemented an effective monitoring control in the form of management and review of conflict of interest forms for all employees and councillors of the municipality,” she said.

eThekwini Speaker, Logie Naidoo did not allow discussion about the report, ruling that it should be debated at a committee meeting before coming back to full council.

Nigel Gumede, an ANC councillor who sits on Exco, said the report did not take into account the various “challenges” such as strikes.

Daily News