Officials must face the music for poor financial management

Written by MafikengMail. Posted in Editor's Viewpoint

We have said it before and we will say it again. For as long as there are no consequences for officials in any local government entity found to be responsible for poor financial management , efforts by the provincial government to address poor audit outcomes might never be successful.

The Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu has for years pleaded with authorities who include politicians in the region to enforce consequence management at both government and municipal levels to prove that government was serious about addressing non-compliance and mismanagement of public funds in these institutions.

The provincial select committee on public accounts (SCOPA) has made similar calls during several financial years and has also raised serious concerns about what its chairperson, Mahlakeng Mahlakeng has described as “lack of political will” by parties to hold their officials in municipalities accountable for the worrisome performance of the localgovernment entities.

Following the release of Makwetu’s recent audit outcomes report in which the AG lambasted the North West province for its poor show in the 2015/2016 fiscal year, Mahlakeng has according to media reports called for an urgent meeting with two MECs in the region to address the worrying backward performance of municipalities in the province. Only four entities received unqualified audit opinions with findings.

The seriousness in which the AG views the deteriorating municipal audit outcomes, has also led to the provincial gatekeepers to call for urgent action against those found not to be doing their job to fight against disclaimed audit opinions.

It is obvious that lack of political will plays a major role in the regressing of municipalities as far as proper financial planning in municipalities is concerned in the North West regarded as the poorest performer in the country.

“The slow response be the political leadership to address the underlying root causes of continued poor audit outcomes will have to be countered with decisive action to hold officials accountable and implement consequence management for poor performance”, Makwetu said when presenting his report.

We stress further that if no action is taken against officials implicated in lack of financial planning, mismanagement of funds , poor service delivery and rampant disregard for legislative regulations as well as non-compliance in procurement, any hope for the culprits to improve their performance, will not help the situation to improve within municipalities.

We therefore call on those responsible for municipalities to up their performances, to take decisive action against those who are failing to carry out their responsibilities. Consequence management must be enforced if South Africa has to get it right!