The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Ms Faith Muthambi, has noted the 2018/19 Audit outcomes with disappointment.

She said: “Of particular concern is that the 2018/19 audit findings are similar to those of 2017/18, where the Auditor-General indicated that accountability for financial and performance management continued to deteriorate. Some municipalities are still reeling from the financial loss suffered due to illegal investments in the defunct VBS Mutual Bank.”

She added that the audit regressions remain persistent, notwithstanding the plethora of programmes directed towards improved audit outcomes in municipalities, including support from the national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Provincial Departments of Cooperative Government, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, and the South African Local Government Association.

According to Ms Muthambi the committee is examining this support closely and critically. This includes raising questions around the effectiveness of the current interventions in municipalities in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution, as well as asking whether there is adequate support in terms of Section 154.

“The AG report, for example, indicates that some municipalities have received adverse and disclaimed audit opinions despite being under intervention in terms of Section 139. Furthermore, some of these municipalities even failed to finalise their audits by the legislated date. One would therefore agree with SALGA that section 139 interventions are perhaps not yielding the desired results and perhaps not the appropriate instrument to rescue municipalities from the brink,” she said.

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