Photograph: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Photograph: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

MPs expected to back law to stop corrupt officials from joining other municipalities

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Dec 5, 2021

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The law cracking down on corrupt municipal officials is expected to be backed by the majority of members of Parliament on Tuesday when it is tabled.

The Municipal Systems Amendment Bill, which prevents officials facing corruption charges from jumping ship and joining other municipalities, will be debated by members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) before voting on it.

The NCOP committee on co-operative governance, traditional affairs, water, sanitation and human settlements adopted the bill two weeks ago.

Chairperson of the committee China Dodovu said yesterday he will officially table the report on the bill in the NCOP on Tuesday.

“I am the one who is presenting the report on Tuesday.

“After the debate, if Parliament approves, it becomes law and the president will have to sign it,” said Dodovu.

He said this would ensure that the implementation of the law would come into effect soon.

Dodovu said the issue of corruption in municipalities needs attention.

He said they were concerned that even with high levels of corruption there was no action against those involved or implicated in it.

He said they get a number of reports from communities on corruption in municipalities and this needed to be resolved.

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke flagged municipalities as one of the areas where corruption was a problem.

There were billions of rand in irregular expenditure every year.

In the National Treasury’s Medium Term Budget Policy statement (MTBPS) it was revealed that municipalities spent R1 billion paying consultants to do its books.

This is despite paying an additional R600 million for its staff in the finance sections.

“Many municipalities have insufficient capacity to fulfil their financial responsibilities.

“This is evident in over-reliance on external financial consultants: municipalities spent over R1bn on financial reporting consultants in 2019/20, even though financial reporting is a core responsibility of their internal finance units,” stated the MTBPS.

National Treasury said a lot needed to change in the management of the finances by municipalities.

Dodovu said they needed a clean break from the past and things must be done differently to ensure accountability.

They would not allow people to move around municipalities when they have been implicated in corruption and other financial misconduct charges.

The committee in Parliament would have to work closely with the national department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs on the implementation of the Municipal System Amendment Bill.

The bill will now go to the president to be signed into law after the chamber has passed it on Tuesday.

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