Political instability in North West blamed for poor audit outcomes: Auditor-General

The Office of the Auditor-General in the North West has blamed instability in political and administrative leadership for the poor performance of municipal audit outcomes.

The Auditor-General says out of the 22 municipalities in the province, not a single one has obtained a clean audit for the 2020/2021 financial year.

It’s reported that the situation has been like this over a five-year period.

A representative from the Office of the Auditor-General in the province, Mthokozisi Sibisi says, “We have seen a number of instability issues at the leadership level which over a period of a five-year term has resulted in these outcomes not improving as one would have expected. We are talking about nine disclaimers, one municipality received an adverse. Nine received qualified opinions, and only three received financially unqualified findings.”

Lekwa-Teemane in which the towns of Bloemhof and Christiana are situated is one of the under-performing municipalities. Its mayor Sebang Motlhabi concurs that political instability is adversely affecting local municipalities.

“Political instability as well is contributing towards all of these lack of service delivery, disclaimer audit opinions. Once the political side of the municipality stabilises, we would then be able to move forward and hold those who are supposed to be accountable, to account.”

Bleak picture of SA municipalities

According to the 2020-2021 local government audit report, municipalities across the country have declined in terms of financial management and financial health.

Auditor General Tsakani Maluleke has painted a dismal picture of the financial state of the country’s local government, claiming that 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 6 losing their clean audit status.

However, Maluleka said just 41 of the municipalities or 16% have received a clean audit over the last year.

Local Government and Public participation Researcher at the University of Mpumalanga, Dr Tshepang Molale, unpacks this more: 

-Additional reporting by SABC News 

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