Au­di­tors con­cerned about lax con­trols

The Mercury - - NEWS - Bheki Mban­jwa

THE eThek­wini’s au­dit com­mit­tee has raised con­cerns about poor con­trols and lamented the lack of co-oper­a­tion from se­nior city of­fi­cials.

In a quar­terly re­port (for the quar­ter end­ing in March 2018), the com­mit­tee raised con­cerns about the “con­tin­u­ing and wors­en­ing” poor at­ten­dance of meet­ings by se­nior man­agers, in­clud­ing deputy city man­agers.

It said that at some point the com­mit­tee had to delay the start of a meet­ing and re­quest ad­min­is­tra­tive staff to call man­age­ment to that meet­ing. “As a re­sult, the au­dit com­mit­tee is un­able to ob­tain answers to queries; there is poor progress in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the au­dit com­mit­tee’s ad­vice and rec­om­men­da­tions.”

The mat­ter had pre­vi­ously been dis­cussed with the city man­ager, it said.

The com­mit­tee is also con­cerned about the in­ad­e­quate re­sponses to the in­ter­nal au­dit find­ings, but it states that the city’s man­age­ment has com­mit­ted it­self to improve on this.

On in­ter­nal con­trols, the au­dit com­mit­tee found mas­sive abuse of over­time due to lax con­trols.

The Mer­cury re­ported yes­ter­day how the com­mit­tee re­vealed that in the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year em­ploy­ees at five of the city’s units claimed 4.5 mil­lion hours in over­time amount­ing to over R524 mil­lion in over­time pay­ments.

The au­dit com­mit­tee re­port fur­ther notes that eThek­wini has no ef­fec­tive in­ter­nal con­trols to pre­vent, re­duce and mit­i­gate against il­le­gal elec­tric­ity con­nec­tions.

Other ar­eas of con­cern are that while the Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment unit has adopted the code of con­duct from Na­tional Trea­sury, the SCM prac­ti­tion­ers “are not fully aware of the Na­tional Trea­sury Code of Con­duct leg­isla­tive re­quire­ments they are ex­pected to com­ply with”.

The com­mit­tee says there is a lack of ev­i­dence to sug­gest that the code of con­duct was com­mu­ni­cated and pro­vided to the SCM of­fi­cials.

In re­sponse, the SCM unit said all prac­ti­tion­ers within the unit were to sign the ac­cep­tance and ac­knowl­edge­ment of the code of con­duct and that in­duc­tion pro­grammes were to be con­ducted.

The city’s chief fi­nance of­fi­cer, Kr­ish Ku­mar, told the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee on Tues­day that all the is­sues raised in the au­dit com­mit­tee re­port are not swept un­der the car­pet but are dealt with.

He was re­spond­ing to IFP and DA coun­cil­lors who raised con­cerns that many of the is­sues were not new and it ap­peared that there was no con­se­quence man­age­ment in the city, hence these con­cerns kept com­ing up.

ANC coun­cil­lor Sipho Kaunda said exco needed to mon­i­tor these re­sponses so that progress could be as­sessed.

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