Tshwane Mayor criticised over AG report

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink. Picture: Jacques Naude/ Independent Newspapers

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink. Picture: Jacques Naude/ Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 15, 2024


The Republican Conference of Tshwane has questioned the motive for Mayor Cilliers Brink withholding the Auditor-General (AG) report.

Brink reported this week that the metro had made progress by achieving a qualified audit opinion in 2023 from the adverse findings in 2022 but declined to release the full report for public participation until it was tabled in council.

“The full audit report will be released for public participation after it has served as part of the city’s annual report which will come to Council in due course. During this meeting it will be presented formally by the AG and engaged on by councillors,”he said.

But, Republican Conference of Tshwane councillor Lex Middelberg criticised Brink for keeping the report under wraps instead of sharing it with his fellow councillors for further scrutiny.

“Why does he withhold the audit report when in the past it was always shared with councillors (as the law requires) immediately after it was signed off by the AG?” Middelberg asked.

He accused Brink of wanting to keep the report under wraps in order to “talk authoritatively on the matter, to monopolise the conversation until it becomes old news without fear of contradiction, allowing him a week or two to steer the public’s perceptions into a false reality.”

Commenting on the audit outcome, Brink said: “The audit outcome of the City of Tshwane has improved from adverse in 2022 to qualified in 2023. Although a qualified audit outcome is still negative, it represents a significant improvement in governance. In short, what we are doing is working.”

He said the latest performance was a step in the right direction for the City to achieve an unqualified audit report.

“At the outset we knew that an unqualified or clean audit would not be possible straight after the 2022 adverse finding. As I made clear in the State of the City Address in 2023, the adverse findings were simply too extensive to turn around in a single auditing cycle,” he said.

The 2022 opinion, he said, was based on adverse findings in three areas, in particular cash flow, trade payables and assets.

“I explained that while we could redress the findings related to cash flow and creditors, assets would take longer. This is exactly what we have achieved. It is clear that the measures we have put in place to respond to the AG’s findings are working,” the mayor said.

Last year the City asked for an extension to submit financial statements to the AG after it failed to meet an August 31 deadline to do so.

Brink said: “The city manager also made the right call, on the advice of the audit and performance committee, to seek permission to submit the City’s financial statements somewhat later. This enabled the necessary quality control to be done. In future, we will ensure that any such decisions are also clearly and timeously communicated to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).”

The City has constantly been criticised for failing to make known its financial statements for 2022/23 to the JSE at the end of January

Brink said: “An improvement in the form of a qualified opinion is a hopeful start to fully restoring the financial controls that we need in our administration. However, more will and must be done, as we remain committed to building a capital city that works for all its people.”

Pretoria News

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