Cogta MEC vows harsh consequences for mayors of poorly performing municipalities

“Stop relegating your responsibilities, delegation is not relegation” – this is a stern warning issued by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, at an urgent meeting with mayors, councillors and municipal managers of municipalities that have caused KZN to regress from 22 clean municipal audits last year to this year’s 11 in the current municipal audit year 2015/2016.

Dube-Ncube today read the riot act at a meeting with the leadership and officials of six municipalities that posted poor audit performance for the municipal financial year 2015/2016. These included uMkhanyakude, uMzinyathi and Amajuba district municipalities and Mooi Mpofana, Inkosi Langalibalele, Msunduzi, Uphongolo, and Big Five Hlabisa local municipalities.

“We are deeply disappointed by the decline in the number of municipalities receiving clean audits. Indeed, we want the mayors to take full responsibility and turn things around. I know some of the mayors are taking an issue with the audits because they have inherited them and I want to say, these are your audits now that you are in office, you inherit both the successes and the failures. I expect you to investigate and take action against those responsible for the poor audit outcomes. We also want responses on your remedial action,” said Dube-Ncube.

“Considering how much time and effort KZN Cogta has invested into municipal audit outcomes by supporting municipalities, this result is a wake-up call for all senior municipal officials whose poor performance has caused this as well as all Mayors and councillors whose poor oversight has failed to prevent it,” said Dube-Ncube.

The volume of irregular expenditure by KZN municipalities at R300-million is one of the reasons for this regression together with flawed procurement procedures. The latter means that municipalities are engaging in uncompetitive SCM processes, or awarding tenders to municipal employees or their close family members.

“Whatever the cause of municipal non-performance, we will not tolerate it. As Cogta, we are dead serious about managing consequences for poor performance when it comes to municipalities. We want mayors to ensure that there are consequences for those who have dropped the ball,” said Dube-Ncube.

Today’s meeting with KZN’s municipalities with poor audit outcomes took place only a week after the Presidential Local Government Summit in Midrand where President JG Zuma placed a premium on well-functioning municipalities as a prerequisite for the government’s drive for radical economic transformation at local level.

“We cannot even begin to radically transform our local economies if our municipalities’ fiscal management is not at a desired level. Audit outcomes are a good indication of municipal performance and since municipalities are the engines of local economic growth, the performance of these few suggests that their engine is sputtering,” said Dube-Ncube.

Dube-Ncube also lauded the province for still holding the record of most municipalities with good audit outcomes in the country. “While we have 48 relatively good audit outcomes, we want to avoid complacency, hence we are treating the six where we have not done well as a wake-up call and we want clean audits as a non-negotiable for all KZN municipalities,” said Dube-Ncube.