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SA's worst wasters: The 20 most wasteful municipalities

While national politics often dominate the news agenda, online discussions, and debates around the braai and dinner tables the workings of local government are often overlooked.

It is at this level of government that important decisions are made about the provision of services that the public uses on a daily basis and can't live without.

This skewed focus is one of the reasons poor management, wasteful spending and corruption in municipalities isn't addressed with as much gusto as national issues.

But the numbers reveal a concerning problem that appears to be getting worse.

The Auditor-General (AG) of South Africa's 2014-2015 Municipal Finance Management Act audit outcomes report shows fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R3.741 billion during that financial year.

Even more concerning is the fact that the AG notes that this figure has “increased by more than 50%” over a five-year period.

Of South Africa's 278 municipalities, 227 incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure during the 2014-2015 financial year.

One of the reasons why the municipalities concerned incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure running into tens of millions of rand was the payment of interest arrears owed to creditors.

The Nelson Mandela Bay metro municipality recorded the highest amount of fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the 2014-2015 report, with R422,530,407 noted during the audit.

This amount includes R146,343,446 incurred during the 2014-2015 financial year, as well as R276,186,961 which was incurred in previous years but only recognised in 2015.

The bulk of the R146 million incurred during 2014-2015 has been attributed to a bus transport system that was not operational.

EWN looks at the 20 worst performing municipalities in relation to fruitless & wasteful expenditure (scroll to the right to see all the data):