CFO resigns after lifting ELM to financial stability

Emalahleni Local Municipality chief financial officer (CFO) Gerald de Jager, who took Emalahleni from a disclaimer audit opinion to an unqualified audit opinion for the past four years, has resigned.

De Jager, who has served Emalahleni for more than seven years, is set to occupy a new position in Oudtshoorn Municipality next month.

His said the move was merely to advance his career by working in a higher-grade municipality.

De Jager said he was met with poor financial management when he stepped in as CFO, as there were no proper financial records in place.

“The internal controls were non-existent and standard operating procedures meant that I had to stabilise the financial viability of the municipality,” he said.

Establishing proper accounting records to improve decisions in financial management was one of the changes he brought in, which led to the unqualified audit opinions.

“I successfully implemented mSCOA[municipal Standard Chart of Account] and Emalahleni is the leading municipality nationally on its implementation.”

The standardised accounting system aims to change the way municipalities transact by standardising financial management processes through policy formulation, budgeting, in-year reporting frameworks and statements.

He said in the last financial year, Emalahleni municipality only had R335,000 of irregular expenditure.

Before moving on, De Jager said: “I plan to help the municipality with a smooth transition to ensure that no vacuum is left ,which won’t allow the municipality’s budget and treasury directorate to collapse.”

He added that if Emalahleni wanted to keep a good financial record, it would have to guard its cash reserves to avoid cash- flow problems in the future.

Emalahleni municipal manager Velile Castro Makedana said: “Our audit opinion is getting better by the day. We are almost on the clean audit opinion.

“A few areas need the attention of the municipal administration, political leadership and workforce.

“I wish De Jager all the best for the future. The management and entire staff appreciate his commitment and dedication while working with us.

“His leadership as the CFO was commendable, as we have managed to be among the first municipalities to reach an advanced stage when it comes to the financial systems required,” Makedana said.

He said the post had been advertised, and it was expected that the post would be filled soon.

He added that Emalahleni’s recruitment processes were advanced.

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