Johannesburg - Unqualified finance and supply chain management officials at municipalities across the country have been given 18 months to get their qualifications or face the chop.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and his Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs counterpart, Dr Zweli Mkhize, have tightened the rules regulating the appointment of officials responsible for the public purse and procurement in local government.
The Municipal Amendment Regulations on Minimum Competency Levels 2018 state that finance or supply chain management officials who do not meet the minimum competency level in the unit standards for a competency area required for their positions, must attain that minimum competency level within 18 months from the date of appointment.
The regulations also state that the attainment of competency levels within prescribed time frames must be included in performance agreements.
“(The) employment contract must also state that if it is not attained within the applicable period, the employment contract will terminate automatically within one month after the applicable period,” read the new regulations.
Municipal managers and chief executives of municipal entities must monitor and take any necessary steps to ensure compliance with the prescribed minimum competency levels for financial and supply chain management officials, and report to the National Treasury and the relevant provincial treasuries twice each year.
According to the regulations, municipal managers or chief executives of entities must ensure that competency assessments of all financial and supply chain management officials are undertaken in order to identify and address gaps in competency levels of those officials, as part of the recruitment process.
The Treasury has trained 583 of its targeted 1000 officials in financial management in the 2018/19 financial year through a programme called Financial Accounting and Supply Chain Management Systems.
Last week, while delivering his Medium-term Budget Policy Statement, Mboweni said Treasury was acutely aware that some municipalities were facing serious capacity constraints in executing plans and programmes.
And Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu was consistently sharing audit messages that emphasise the importance of accountability in the management of municipal affairs.