EC municipality used COVID-19 relief funds to buy car, AG tells MPs

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke painted a bleak picture of the state of the country’s municipal finances, telling Parliament how municipalities had racked up R26 billion in irregular expenditure.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Auditor-General has told Parliament of the abuse of COVID-19 relief funds, with one municipality buying a car with money earmarked for the pandemic.

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke briefed a joint meeting of finance watchdog Scopa and the standing committee on the Auditor-General on Tuesday.

She painted a bleak picture of the state of the country’s municipal finances.

Maluleke told Parliament how municipalities had racked up R26 billion in irregular expenditure.

The same councils had also mismanaged COVID-19 relief funds, with one Eastern Cape municipality using funds earmarked for the pandemic relief to buy a car.

"There were instances were the COVID-19 funding was used for something other than COVID-19. For example, there's a municipality in the Eastern Cape where the funds were used to buy the mayor a car rather than using it for COVID."

Maluleke said that other municipalities procured personal protective equipment but stored it in poor conditions, destroying it.

She said that contracts valued at almost R20 million were also awarded to politicians and municipal officials.

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