Almost R17bn of ‘irregular expenditure’ exposed, as only nine out of 263 municipalities record a clean audit – AG report
The auditor general’s local report for 2015/16 was released today, but I can think of 254 municipalities that will be horrified by the results. Unsurprisingly, these results are a regression from those published in the last tax year.
Fourteen separate bodies lost their clean audits status and just nine of the municipalities across the whole country have kept their finances properly regulated.
Only the Western Cape emerges with any sort of credibility from the findings, with 80% of their municipalities being able to boast a spotless audit record. The next most ‘impressive’ return was from KwaZulu-Natal… At 18%.
A district with less than 1 in 5 audits coming back clean is the second best in the country. Just let that sink in…
Gauteng was the only province to receive unqualified audit opinions on its financial statements. The Midvaal municipality was the only one to keep its clean audit status.
The facts and figures:
. 65% of municipalities have a ‘concerning’ financial health, which is 5% more than 2014/15
. Irregular expenditure increased by more than 50%, to R16.81bn – this is the highest since auditing records began
. Unauthorised expenditure reached R12.77bn, with over 55% of overspending related to ‘non-cash’
Auditor General Kimi Makwetu spoke on the findings at a press briefing in Pretoria and attempted to give some context to the eye-watering figures.
He stated that ‘irregular expenditure’ isn’t always the same as wastage or fraud, but all related incidents are required to go through an investigative process.
One positive to come from the Auditor General’s report is that ‘wasteful and fruitless’ expenditure is down by 21%. However, it’s not enough to cover up the startling misuse of public money by a large majority of this country’s municipalities.