'No improvement' in municipalities' accountability as just 16% get clean audits

Screengrab of Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke presenting the audit outcomes of municipalities (SABC on YouTube)

| Bruce Whitfield interviews audit head Mabatho Sedikela after the Auditor-General delivers municipalities' audit outcomes.

South Africa's broken municipalities were back in the spotlight on Wednesday when Auditor-General (AG) Tsakani Maluleke presented the audit outcomes for the 2020/21 financial year.

Just 16% of the country's municipalities received clean audits. - that's 41 out of 257 municipalities.

Maluleke reported a slight increase in clean audits, with 27 municipalities maintaining their clean audit status and 14 achieving a clean audit for the first time. Six, however, lost that status.

The Western Cape was the best performing province, receiving 22 clean audits.

In the Free State and North West not a single municipality got a clean audit.

"Local government is characterised by accountability and service delivery failures, poor governance, weak institutional capacity, and instability" said the AG.

β€œIt is now time to activate the accountability ecosystem to shift the culture in local government towards performance, integrity, transparency and accountability.”

RELATED: Most municipalities in South Africa are toast, except for the W Cape - MFSI

Is part of the problem at a very basic level, one of simple bookkeeping?

Bruce Whitfield interviews Mabatho Sedikela, Agsa's Head of Audit: Provincial.

Today we launched our report on the state of local government, a five-year picture... Amongst the details we have shared are that the fundamental principles around credible financial reporting are found wanting.

Mabatho Sedikela, Head of Audit: Provincial - Auditor-General of South Africa

Those are the basics that allow the municipality to account for the money that they receive from National Treasury, spend it in an appropriate manner, put transparency on how that is done... to take care of service delivery...

Mabatho Sedikela, Head of Audit: Provincial - Auditor-General of South Africa

Sedikela says the AG's office has this year exercised its powers by delving into the municipalities who receive a "disclaimer of audit opinion". That's when the auditee provided insufficient evidence in the form of documentation on which to base an audit opinion.

For us it means that the residents of those municipalities are not enjoying basic services... We've issued MIs on substantial harm to the community; we've also issued MIs on substantial harm to the institution...

Mabatho Sedikela, Head of Audit: Provincial - Auditor-General of South Africa

Listen to the interview on The Money Show:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'No improvement' in municipalities' accountability as just 16% get clean audits

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