Heads Must Roll Over Municipal Audit Outcomes – Jackson Mthembu

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said Cabinet discussed Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s latest report on municipal audit outcomes at its meeting on Wednesday.

Cabinet said that levels of poor governance and financial mismanagement in municipalities were unacceptably high and that heads must roll.

The report revealed that only 18 out of 257 municipalities achieved clean audits and that 63 municipalities fared worse than in the previous year, with only 22 municipalities showing any improvement in the way they manage their finances.

Mthembu said Cabinet was worried about municipal audit outcomes.

“The unacceptably high levels of poor governance, particularly the management of public funds in a number of municipalities, suggest ineffective and poor execution of service-delivery programmes,” he said.

Hope lies with the Public Audit Amendment Act, signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November. It gives the Auditor-General new powers to act against officials who raid municipal coffers, including holding accounting officers personally liable, where material irregularities are found.

“So, the Auditor General can act. But also, Cabinet has said heads must roll [of] those who continue to spend fruitlessly, spend wastefully and spend irregularly,” Mthembu said.