Two North West government departments are working together to help municipalities improve service delivery
Two North West provincial government departments will work closely together to help ailing municipalities that have been given disclaimer audit opinions by the Auditor-General.
Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of Local Government and Human Settlements in the province Fenny Gaolaolwe says her department will work with its counterparts from the Department of Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development (FEED).
“We have initiated Operation Audit Rooms in partnership with FEED to support municipalities that have received disclaimer audit opinions.”
The MEC says this operation focuses on the establishment and maintenance of proper records and information-management systems. It further provides support to strengthen the municipal audit committees and internal audit structures whose responsibility it is to review municipalities' financial records.
MEC Gaolaowe adds that her department will keep an eye on the implementation of forensic investigators' recommendations.
“The department, together with FEED, will continue to monitor the implementation of the recommendations to ensure that consequence management is put in place,” says MEC Gaolaolwe.
“Proper leadership and capacitated management are essential to running a municipality successfully and rendering the necessary services to its community. This is why the department will not neglect this aspect.”
MEC Gaolaolwe says her department will play a role in making this a reality. “The department will continue to support municipalities to build leadership and management capacity of ward committees to ensure that they are responsive to the community's needs.
“We have conducted induction workshops on the role and responsibilities of ward committees across the province.”
Municipal revenue enhancement
Apart from money provincial government allocates to municipalities, they rely on the revenue they collect from citizens and enterprises that conduct business in the jurisdiction of the municipality.
MEC Gaolaolwe says her department will again work closely with FEED to help municipalities in the province develop and implement their own revenue-enhancement strategies.
The 12 municipalities that have developed their strategies are Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, Tlokwe, Moretele, Madibeng, Kgetlengrivier, Lekwa Teemane, Greater
Taung, Naledi, Tswaing, Ramotshere Moiloa, Mamusa and Mahikeng.
“We will further review revenue plans for those municipalities which collect below the expected norm in order to improve their revenue collection and we will pay special attention to conduct a data cleansing exercise,” says MEC Gaolaolwe.
North West goes Back to Basics
North West's provincial government remains committed to accelerating the implementation of a Back to Basics (B2B) approach in municipalities with the aim of improving service delivery.
MEC Gaolaolwe says the 2016/17 financial year remains critical to the implementation of the second phase of the B2B programme.
“The department commits to continue with coordination of the implementation of Back to Basics.
“We will do so by mobilising multi-departmental teams to support dysfunctional municipalities, strengthening community engagement and local government accountability to citizens through the Setsokotsane and
Bua le Puso programme, accelerating the hands-on approach.”
Setsokotsane is a public campaign by the office of the Premier and North West government to fight inequality, unemployment and poverty.
Launched in 2015, Bua le Puso is a people-centred programme in which government officials and their principals, using a one-stop-shop approach at taxi ranks, offer government services and direct responses to issues communities might raise.
The MEC adds that the department will also prioritise programmes and projects that have high visibility and an impact on the delivery of core B2B objectives through the implementation of the provincial infrastructure programme.
Shared services model
Last year, the provincial government adopted the shared services model to ensure coordinated and integrated support to municipalities in the work of delivering quality services.
The intervention has resulted in an improvement in internal audit, risk management, functionality of audit committees, good governance and improved capital projects expenditure.
Municipalities such as Mahikeng, Kgetlengrivier, Moses Kotane and Maquassi Hills have benefited immensely from shared internal audit services.
“We are grateful to realise the positive impact towards the improved audit outcome and we have stopped the process of outsourcing internal audit services in our municipalities.
“There is a progress on financial management by municipalities and improved functionality of the audit committees,” MEC Gaolaolwe says.
Municipal audit outcomes
With some interventions, MEC Gaolaolwe indicated that the department is pleased with the improvements registered in the previous financial year's audits.
The improvements were a result of the partnership between the department and its counterpart at FEED.
“Out of the 23 municipalities, only six were disclaimed and one audit report is still outstanding. Six municipalities received unqualified audit reports, while 10 municipalities received qualified audit reports.”
MEC Gaolaolwe says she is proud to announce that since the implementation of Setsokotsane, North West has recorded significant progress in housing opportunities in the 2015/2016 financial year.
“We managed to achieve the implementation of
17 551 housing opportunities comprising of 10 997 units and 6 554 serviced sites out of a target of 15 080 opportunities.
“The mining towns' overall achievements are at
4 876 units in the 2015/16 financial year, out of a target of 4 188 units. We continue to implement our special programme initiatives in support of women and youth contractors.
“To this end, 12 women contractors have been appointed to build 1 400 units through the 1956 Women's Build Programme. We want to confirm that the contractors are currently on site in Itsoseng, Mahikeng, Glaudina and Lethabong.”
MEC Fenny Gaolaolwe signing a pledge at the recent Human Settlements Indaba in Rustenburg.