Mpumalanga municipalities spend R100 million paying private firms to do work of employed staff

Mpumalanga municipalities spend R100 million paying private firms to do work of employed staff
LOOT: Despite forking out millions every year paying the salaries of employed finance and accounting professionals, municipalities in the province go on to blow more millions paying consultants to do their work for them. PICTURE BY Arizona Herald

The municipalities are hard-hit by corruption, lack of visionary leadership to service voters and glaring financial mismanagement.

Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu has revealed that municipalities in the Mpumalanga province spent close to R100 million paying private tendering companies to do the work of employed municipal staff.

Makwetu released his audit report into the financial state of South African municipalities Wednesday this week 1 July 2020 and said that nationally municipalities had squandered R32 billion in irregular and wasteful expenditure.

Makwetu has called on action to be taken against whoever is found to be on the wrong in abusing the public purse for obviously selfish and corrupt ends.

He found that none of the 18 local municipalities of Mpumalanga received clean audits. Of the 3 district municipalities, only Muzi Chirwa’s Gert Sibande district and Sarah Masilela’s Nkangala district municipalities got unqualified audit outcomes albeit with findings.

Jester Sidel’s eHlanzeni district municipality received no clean audit as well as all the local municipalities falling under it.

Mpumalanga’s irregular expenditure totalled R1.09 billion, with a further R358 million circled for auditing – but with no submissions made by the municipalities to explain it before the Auditor-General’s deadline.

All 7 local municipalities falling under the Gert Sibande district municipality none got clean audit as well as all the 6 falling under Nkangala district.

ALSO SEE: Mandla Msibi probes worst Mpumalanga municipalities

Makwetu said private consulting firms were used by municipalities to do work on behalf of permanently employed municipal staff, forking out R98 million to pay the firms.

The private consultants were employed to compile the financial statements when Makwetu was demanding them…

Makwetu, who’s seven-year term as Mzansi’s bookkeeper comes to an end in December, said the troubled JS Moroka in Nkangala and Govan Mbeki in Gert Sibande spent R3 million paying a private firm to help them compile financial statements – only to submit nothing to him at the end of the day.

He also found that R154.3 million of conditional grants went unspent as a result of “poor planning by the municipalities”.

“Deteriorating accountability and financial management coupled with weakened oversight is at the centre of the significant regressions in audit outcomes in the province,” said Makwetu in his findings.

“There was a breakdown in internal control across various municipalities, which included basic financial disciplines such as record keeping, reconciliations and verification,” he said.

(edited by ZK)

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