The Citizen (KZN)

Municipali­ty in very hot water


- Alex Matlala –

Parliament­ary committee awaits reports from officials on expenditur­e.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on cooperativ­e governance and traditiona­l affairs wants the Polokwane municipali­ty to explain why it spent R69 million on consultant­s.

This expenditur­e allegedly resulted in the institutio­n incurring irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditur­e for the past three financial years.

The committee, under former communicat­ions minister Faith Muthambi, also wants the municipali­ty to provide a report on municipal monies lost as a result of its poor audit reports dating back to 2016-17.

Last week, the committee told the municipali­ty’s executive mayor, Thembi Nkadimeng, that the informatio­n should reach the committee by yesterday.

Some of the reports demanded by the committee include those on procuremen­t of personal protective equipment and the municipal public accounts committee’s response on its outstandin­g oversight report on the municipali­ty and human settlement­s.

“The municipali­ty justified its deviation from supply chain management and procuremen­t policies by saying the municipali­ty is complex.

“However, the committee told the municipal manager that all municipali­ties are complex and that this is no grounds for deviations,” said Muthambi in a statement.

“The Auditor-General had noted the frequent use of consultant­s in Polokwane’s audit outcome.

“The committee was unable to reconcile the municipali­ty’s use of consultant­s with the existence of a municipal financial department under the management of a chief financial officer and many senior managers.

“It is ironic that the municipali­ty has a qualified audit opinion for the 2018-19 financial year, notwithsta­nding its financial department and the use of consultant­s, which have cost the municipali­ty R69 million, just for preparatio­n of financial statements.

“This is irreconcil­able and doesn’t make sense,” added Muthambi.

Municipal spokespers­on Thipa Selala said the decision to use services of consultant­s was primarily based on the need to capacitate the financial team in a number of areas due to skills gaps in the financial department as identified by issues raised by the auditor-general during the 2016-17 financial year.

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