KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has noted the Auditor-General’s 2018/2019 audit outcomes of the province’s municipalities which show a slight overall improvement but no cause for celebration. The municipal audit outcomes were released by the Auditor-General’s office today.
KZN’s municipalities have maintained one clean audit opinion while 32 municipalities received an unqualified audit opinion, 18 municipalities received a qualified audit opinion, one municipality received an adverse opinion and two municipalities received a disclaimer of opinions.
Overall there have been eight improvements against seven regressions in KZN with all other municipalities maintaining the status quo. The 2018/2019 audit outcomes thus indicate that there is much room for improvement and that ensuring accountability by municipal leadership is key in this regard.
In a special meeting convened by Hlomuka last month with the province’s mayors, the implementation of consequence management measures took centre stage as the sphere of local government in KZN continues to suffer from the outbreak of Covid-19 which has put pressure on already depleted resources available to municipalities.
Hlomuka has emphasised his department’s commitment to supporting municipalities as they seek to improve their audit outcomes. A raft of measures has been implemented by the department in conjunction with the Provincial Treasury to monitor the implementation of audit report plans. This includes the appointment of financial experts to assist municipalities to improve their audit outcomes. This intervention will ensure that audit improvement strategies are implemented and more so the transfer of skills also takes place in the management of municipal finances.
Hlomuka will also call an urgent meeting with the province’s mayors and senior municipal officials to comprehensively deal with the latest audit outcomes. KZN’s poorly performing municipalities will be expected to present realistic audit improvement plans with particular reference to areas of under-performance.