Up­grad­ing skills to im­prove ser­vice in lo­cal gov­ern­ment

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

in a bid to en­sure bet­ter fi­nan­cial man­age­ment in KwaZulu-Natal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and em­bed a cul­ture of fi­nan­cial ac­count­abil­ity, a num­ber of pub­lic ser­vants have un­der­gone fi­nan­cial and le­gal train­ing.

Or­gan­ised by the MEC for Fi­nance Belinda Scott, the train­ing was made pos­si­ble by a part­ner­ship be­tween ABSA and the Univer­sity of West­ern Cape (UWC). Twenty-five em­ploy­ees from var­i­ous mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties com­pleted the course.

The group is now armed with knowl­edge and aware­ness of the reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments and leg­isla­tive frame­work gov­ern­ing pub­lic sec­tor fi­nance re­forms and man­age­ment in South Africa; an un­der­stand­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion of dif­fer­ent re­port­ing frame­works; an un­der­stand­ing of how to ap­ply and ad­here to ac­cept­able ac­count­ing records; an un­der­stand­ing of au­dit work­ing papers for an­nual ex­ter­nal au­dit; an un­der­stand­ing and abil­ity to pre­pare cash flow state­ments and bud­gets; an un­der­stand­ing and abil­ity to cal­cu­late dif­fer­ent fi­nan­cial ra­tios; and the knowl­edge to in­ter­pret and ap­ply fi­nan­cial ra­tios and per­form fi­nan­cial state­ment anal­y­sis.

MEC Scott said the part­ner­ship marks an im­por­tant mile­stone in im­prov­ing ca­pac­ity in the fi­nan­cial man­age­ment in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. She said that if mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties strug­gle to de­liver ser­vices, then gov­ern­ment does not work.

De­liv­er­ing bet­ter ser­vices

“We con­grat­u­late the 25 trainees,” she said, adding that more skilled fi­nan­cial of­fi­cers are needed to help the prov­ince’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties man­age their fi­nance sys­tems.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties do not lack fund­ing, Scott said, but rather the abil­ity to man­age the fi­nan­cial re­sources they are al­lo­cated.

“This train­ing will have a pos­i­tive ef­fect in man­ag­ing the cur­rent chal­lenges faced, and we would like more part­ner­ships to help gov­ern­ment cre­ate the nec­es­sary ca­pac­ity in or­der to de­liver ser­vices bet­ter to the com­mu­ni­ties,” she said.

“The ob­jec­tive of the pro­gramme is to im­prove the mu­nic­i­pal fi­nan­cial health so that we can im­prove the mu­nic­i­pal ser­vice to the com­mu­ni­ties,” said UWC’s Al­lan Ro­man.

Head of mar­ket­ing and cor­po­rate re­la­tions in KwaZulu-Natal, Dante Mashile, said that as a bank, ABSA saw it as fit­ting to as­sist in the deep­en­ing of the skills of ac­count­ing prac­ti­tion­ers.

“Through this train­ing pro­gramme, we are ful­fill­ing our cit­i­zen­ship re­spon­si­bil­ity by as­sist­ing lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to de­liver bet­ter ser­vices and at the same time ad­vanc­ing so­cio-eco­nomic devel­op­ment for the com­mu­ni­ties they serve. This train­ing pro­gramme is part of our Shared Growth strat­egy im­ple­men­ta­tion where ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing is a key area of fo­cus for us. We are pas­sion­ate about leav­ing things bet­ter than we found them.”

One of the par­tic­i­pants, Wandile Ngubane, said he was grate­ful for the train­ing which will not only change the per­for­mance of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties but will also have a pos­i­tive im­pact on ser­vice de­liv­ery.

KwaZulu-Natal fi­nance MEC Belinda Scott with the di­rec­tor of the Univer­sity of the West­ern Cape’s School of Gov­ern­ment, Pro­fes­sor Chris Tap­scott, ABSA head of pub­lic sec­tor bank­ing, Fiks Dlamini, univer­sity deputy reg­is­trar, Dr Ahmed Shaik­jee, and cer­tifi­cate re­cip­i­ent, Wandile Ngubane.

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