'Financial control at councils poor'

Eric Naki

Auditor-General Terence Nombembe, pictured, has expressed concern about the high level of poor financial management at various municipalities in Gauteng.

Nombembe said the councils had not improved their financial management since the problem was raised in the 2005-6 financial year.

This emerged during Nombembe's briefing to a forum of mayors and municipal managers on the AG's audit outcomes for the province for the last financial year (2006-7) on Tuesday.

He said the municipalities had not improved from the 2005-6 year in terms of worst opinions or what is called "adverse" and "disclaimer" opinion in medium capacity municipalities.

The West Rand district municipality has been highlighted as being of a particular concern, with all the local municipalities within the district having obtained a disclaimer or a qualified report.

More than half of the municipalities in Metsweding received the worst opinion (adverse or disclaimer) while Sedibeng district municipality had the most unqualified opinions in "other matters".

However, the AG suggested that the best practices from that district should be rolled out to other districts.

It came as good news that only one (7 percent) municipality (City of Johannesburg) received an unqualified opinion without any further concerns raised.

Of Gauteng's 14 municipal audits, one (Motsweding) received an adverse audit opinion (7 percent); three (21 percent) received a disclaimer and four (29 percent) were qualified.

The reports of five (36 percent) municipalities that received an unqualified financial opinion had concerns raised on "other matters".