Audit outcomes: DA WCape leads the way

Tertuis Simmers says local and provincial govts in SA should return to doing the basics, and to do them correctly

Audit outcomes: DA Western Cape leads the way

20 June 2022

Speaking on the DA-led Western Cape, the Auditor-General (AG) said, “Overall, the province continued on an upward trajectory, with a year-on-year improvement in audit outcomes. From 2016-17, the previous administration continued to build on the foundation laid by its predecessors. The firm leadership tone and strong control environment contributed to positive outcomes and the new administration should continue in this vein to sustain the positive outcomes and drive improved service delivery. Audit committees and municipal public accounts committees should continue providing oversight and governance to sustain the improvement, and the province should maintain focus on effective financial management disciplines to support the good financial health at most municipalities.”

I wish to congratulate the majority of mayors and municipal managers in the Western Cape on this incredible outcome and I challenge them to continue their good governance, and even to improve it.

Local government must increasingly be characterised by good governance: accountability, compliance with legislation and regulations, strong institutional capacity, and stability. Here, the Western Cape has been leading the way. If the lives of all South Africans are to change, then local governments in other provinces should rise to the standard of the Western Cape and DA-led local governments, that value courage, integrity, accountability, and a citizen-centric local government leadership that confirms a culture of performance, transparency and integrity.

Every municipal manager and senior manager need to lead by example, cultivate a culture of compliance, and ensure that consequences for accountability failures are affected swiftly, bravely and consistently. Municipalities must rise to their constitutional obligations that citizens will live in cities, towns and settlements where they have access to clean water, sanitation, electricity, refuse services, and good roads and infrastructure.

Provincial treasuries must support local governments by workshops and reviews to enhance the quality of financial reporting, and to support and build internal capacity within poorly performing local authorities.

Non-compliance in procurement is said to have caused almost all of the irregular expenditure and the material findings raised on compliance. This indicates weaknesses in the supply chain management control environment and a possible lack of consequence management. Steps, as set-out in section 32 of the MFMA, must be followed. Municipalities must investigate and prioritise dealing with irregular expenditure.

Premiers need to intensify support for municipalities with defective control environments and service delivery challenges. MECs of finance should continue to explore strategic ways to improve revenue collection at municipalities. MECs for finance and local government should cultivate cordial relationships with municipal governments to ease influence and intervention for improvement.

In short, local and provincial governments in South Africa should return to doing the basics, and to do them correctly.

I am proud of the many DA-led governments who mange to deliver to their residents, and I urge other local authorities to do the same and to work hard to make South Africa a better place for all.

By Tertuis Simmers, DA Interim Provincial Leader, Western Cape