COGTA MEC, Fikile Xasa has, in a statement, indicated that he has taken note of the regression in the 2016/17 financial performance of some Eastern Cape municipalities which has been reported by the Auditor General (AG).
The AG reported that a total of R13 billion has been incurred in irregular expenditure within the municipal sphere of the Province.
MEC Xasa said the audit outcomes are an affront to the principles of good governance and sound management as guided by the Back to Basics (B2B) programme.
Releasing the audit findings of the country’s 257 municipalities in Parliament yesterday, Auditor General Kimi Makwetu said the 2016/17 audit findings showed that counsel from his office has at best not been implemented and at worst, totally ignored.
MEC Xasa said he has written to Mayors and Executive Mayors whose municipalities have incurred irregular expenditure requesting progress made in dealing with irregular expenditure. The deadline for responses was in April 2018 and some municipalities have responded and others still outstanding.
“If nothing has been implemented yet, I expect municipal leadership to provide me with plans going forward and also reasons for inaction on this matter. It is the responsibility of municipalities to either recover the irregular expenditure or institute consequence management,” said MEC Xasa.
He added that a multi-disciplinary task team will be put in place composed of Cogta, The Office of the Premier (OTP), Provincial Treasury and the oversight structures of the Eastern Cape legislature. The team will implement an Audit Improvement Plan for bad performing municipalities.
MEC Xasa added that government will have to ensure that the issue of irregular, wasteful expenditure should be included in the performance contracts of Municipal Managers (MMs). “The audit outcomes are disappointing and paint a bleak picture about our Province in terms of financial accountability. We expect municipalities to account how the irregular expenditure was incurred through an investigation by the Municipal Councils through their Municipal Public Account Committees (MPAC),” said MEC Xasa.
He added that during the 2017/18 financial year his department trained all members of the MPAC with practical guidance on how to do an oversight report when investigating on irregular expenditure is being conducted.