Irregular expenditure is sitting at R26bn across 246 of SA's municipalities - AG

Tsakani Maluleke briefed a joint meeting of Parliament and said that figure could be higher if more municipalities submitted their financial statements.

FILE: Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke on 9 December 2020 delivered the second COVID-19 relief fund audit report in Pretoria. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The Auditor-General said on Tuesday irregular expenditure at municipal level continued to be a problem and was sitting at R26 billion incurred by 246 municipalities.

Tsakani Maluleke briefed a joint meeting of Parliament and said that figure could be higher if more municipalities submitted their financial statements.

She also noted widespread non-compliance with legislation by the country’s municipalities.

Maluleke said there were over 800 instances where suppliers made false declarations and only a handful of municipalities did things correctly.

"A major indicator for us is the quality of financial statements that are submitted to us for auditing."

She added that the biggest defaulters are municipalities in the Eastern Cape, the Free State and the North West.

Maluleke said some, like Gauteng and Mpumalanga, showed a slight improvement.

'CONSULTANTS' COSTING MUNICIPALITIES

Municipalities are also still receiving disclaimed audit opinions despite spending R1 billion on consultants to prepare their financial statements in the year under review., according to Maluleke.

The AG told Parliament that municipal finances continued to worsen.

Maluleke added that municipalities continued to perform poorly despite these private consultants.

“So, as I was saying, a billion rand was spent by municipalities on consultants to help them compile financial statements. There are 10 municipalities disclaimer audit opinions despite hiring consultants to compile financials.”

Maluleke also touched on the use of COVID-19 funds by municipalities saying the funds havd been misused in many cases.

“There were instances where the COVID-19 relief funding was used for something other than COVID-19. An example is a municipality in the Eastern Cape where the funds were used to buy the mayor a car rather than this intended purpose.”

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