Cor­rupt mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties must ac­count for their poor au­dits

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

ANC MP Amos Ma­sondo yes­ter­day called for the nam­ing and sham­ing of cor­rupt mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties if the scourge was to be erad­i­cated in the coun­try.

Speak­ing dur­ing a brief­ing in Par­lia­ment on the 2015/16 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties au­dit-out­comes by the Of­fice of Au­di­tor-Gen­eral, Ma­sondo said cor­rup­tion re­mained one of the key chal­lenges fac­ing the coun­try.

“It will be use­ful to en­sure as we talk (about cor­rup­tion), we ac­tu­ally say ‘which are the most cor­rupt mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and en­ti­ties in the coun­try’.

“If we do that, we force fo­cus and con­cen­trate our minds on those. I know it will be a dif­fi­cult thing to do,” he said.

The former mayor of the City of Jo­han­nes­burg made his com­ments when the co-op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs com­mit­tee heard that there was an 86% (185 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties) slow re­sponse rate to the A-G’s mes­sage on im­prov­ing key con­trols and risk ar­eas.

There was also in­ad­e­quate con­se­quences for poor per­for­mance and trans­gres­sions.

Dur­ing the 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year, R16.8 bil­lion in ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture was in­curred, up from the prior year’s R11.1bn.

The com­mit­tee was also in­formed that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties did not have suf­fi­cient mech­a­nisms for re­port­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing trans­gres­sions or pos­si­ble fraud.

Seventy-three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties had not es­tab­lished dis­ci­plinary boards, 53 were with­out a hot­line and 50 were with­out poli­cies for in­ves­ti­ga­tions

Busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive, Alice Muller, said there was a need to fo­cus and work to­wards in­creas­ing ac­count­abil­ity.

“If we in­crease ac­count­abil­ity, cor­rup­tion will go down,” she said.

“If ac­count­abil­ity is not in place nor en­forced, we are to see a spike in cor­rup­tion,” Muller added.

Ma­sondo said talk­ing about cor­rup­tion in gen­eral terms should give way to an era to be more spe­cific.

“Some of these cor­rup­tion cases can lead to iso­lat­ing and pi­lot in­ter­ven­tions so that we can see on an on­go­ing ba­sis that they are at­tended to,” he said.

The DA’s David Mat­sepe said there was a need to look at fac­tors that made mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties not per­form to ex­pec­ta­tions.

“My think­ing is that the pow­ers-that-be, be it in the prov­inces or na­tion­ally, are ac­tu­ally sti­fling the ef­fort of au­di­tors.

“They don’t give re­gard to rec­om­men­da­tions given by au­di­tors that these are in­stances to be in­ves­ti­gated,” Mat­sepe said.

He said it was wor­ry­ing that out of the 151 fraud and sup­ply chain mis­con­duct the A-G rec­om­mended for in­ves­ti­ga­tion, only 43 were not in­ves­ti­gated and nine oth­ers were not prop­erly in­ves­ti­gated.

But, Ma­sondo said, those man­dated to con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tions, such as the Hawks, should be com­pelled to do their work.

He said a leaf should be taken from the Prasa board, which took the elite unit to court for al­legedly not probing cases lodged with it.

PIC­TURE:SIZWE NDINGANE

SPEAK­ING OUT: ANC MP Amos Ma­sondo wants all cor­rupt mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to be named and shamed.

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