Auditor-General paints a bleak picture of finances in SA municipalities

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke has painted a bleak picture of the financial state of South Africa’s municipalities, saying there is little sign of the situation being turned around.

She says out of nearly 260 municipalities, there has been an increase in clean audits, with 27 maintaining their clean audit status, 14 achieving a clean audit for the first time, and six losing their clean audit status.

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However, presenting the local government audit outcomes for the 2020/21 financial year in Pretoria, Maluleka said just 41 of the municipalities or 16% have received a clean audit over the last year.

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Maluleke says the late submission of financial statements by municipalities remains a problem.

The Auditor-General added that the Free State had no clean audits and pointed to a collapse in local government.

Eastern Cape had four clean audits, the Northern Cape had no clean audits.

Gauteng saw two clean audits and the Western Cape had the highest amount of clean audits at 22.

“If we look at KwaZulu-Natal, our view is that much work is required to institutionalise, preventative controls and consequence management in KZN. Limpopo, that province has seen the greatest improvement over the last five years.”

“Much of it is due to the tone that was set by the provincial government. The province has also benefited a great deal from the coordinated effort by the provincial treasury, working together with the provincial Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta),” adds Maluleke.

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