A crisis in leadership, rampant irregularities in procurement, spiralling irregular expenditure, and a lack of consequence management are key drivers leading to regression in audit outcomes across KwaZulu-Natal, the auditor-general (AG) has said.

Ntombifuthi Mhlongo, the AG’s business executive responsible for KwaZulu-Natal, painted a dismal picture of accountability in stasis when she made the remarks in reference to the province’s 2018/2019 municipal audit outcomes via a virtual briefing on Thursday.

Mhlongo said there was “little change in outcomes”, that accountability was “not being adequately practised and enforced by leadership”, and that there was a “failure of key controls”.

Covid-19 necessitated “swift action” from the government in order to restore public confidence in delivering on promises, she said, and leadership at local government level needed to be on autopilot when it came to systems and processes, in order to establish an ethical tone and “set accountability into overdrive [to] enforce consequence management”.

“The levels of tolerance for non-compliance need to be minimised, with transparent reporting to councils and the public,” she said, emphasising that preventative controls were more effective than having to deal with the consequences.

The AG’s report found that in total, 98% of KwaZulu-Natal’s municipalities did not comply with…

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