The DA in the Northern Cape notes the regression in municipal audit outcomes for 2021/22, which will come as no surprise to residents who pay the price for poor service delivery that stems from financial mismanagement.
A clean audit is an indicator that municipal administrations are using resources efficiently to deliver services effectively. But audit outcomes confirm that resources do not translate into tangible services in many areas of the Northern Cape.
The root of many financial evils is the inability to manage cash and cashflow properly. More than 90% of municipalities do not pay their bills within 30 days, including accounts owed to Eskom and other service providers, which creates additional financial pressure in the form of penalties. Grant funding is still being used to pay salaries instead of fixing infrastructure.
And it doesn’t help that irregular expenditure alone increased by 20% from the prior year, bringing the closing balance of irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure to more than R5.19 billion. Since the total budget for Northern Cape municipalities was only R10 billion, this means that more than half of the municipal spending should be questioned.
Only four of the 24 disciplinary boards in the province are deemed effective, which reaffirms that there is a lack of political will to address the root causes of poor audits and poor service delivery.
The DA in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature will continue advocating for stronger oversight in the municipal sphere. Consequences must apply to those who do not use public resources to public benefit, but who misuse the public purse for their private or political gain.
We cannot allow that weak controls, inadequate planning or poor budgeting strips residents of the services that they deserve.
Issued by Fawzia Rhoda, MPL - DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson on Finance