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Kimi Makwetu, the Auditor General (AG), today released the 2015/2016 government audit outcomes report, which confirms that municipalities throughout the country spent nearly R30,5 billion on fruitless, wasteful, irregular and unauthorised expenses in this time.

The AG found that a lack of accountability and poor internal control and supervision are key problems that have led to these substantial amounts of misapplication.

The MECs of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Department of Finances have a supervisory role to play in municipal budgeting processes and must ensure that Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) among other things set out a strategy to collect outstanding debt. They must further monitor municipalities to ensure that these strategies are applied properly.

“This inability of state organs to hold each other accountable has led to the large-scale fraud and corruption that currently flourishes in some municipalities. It is ironic that this amount is nearly twice as much as the municipal debt owed to Eskom, and yet it just keeps growing,” says Morné Mostert, AfriForum’s Head of Local Government Affairs.

Mostert is of the opinion that the AG’s report cannot be used as a service delivery measure, but is rather a way to determine if municipalities write up their spending in a correct accounting manner.

“AfriForum will study the report and then liaise with the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (who must ensure that the above-mentioned MECs fulfil their functions in this regard) to ensure that processes are put in place to eradicate this type of mismanagement and misapplication of funds,” Mostert concludes.

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