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R42.9m to solve municipal problems

THE Eastern Cape local government department has set aside R42.9-million for the next financial year to help 19 municipalities who had fared badly in their 2010-11 financial year audit outcomes.

In their quest to meet the 2014 Operation Clean Audit deadline, the department will deploy specialist personnel to ailing municipalities that had received adverse audit opinions and disclaimers from provincial auditor-general Singa Ngqwala's office.

An additional R6.2-million will be channelled to th e affected and targeted municipalities to accomplish sound management, monitoring oversight structures and records management.

This was revealed by local government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane when he delivered his policy speech at the Bhisho Legislature yesterday.

Delivering his address Qoboshiyane said he was pleased by the progress made by municipalities in terms of improving on audit outcomes and that they were well in line to achieving clean audits by 2014.

He revealed that of the province's 45 municipalities:

l13 have received unqualified audit opinions as against nine in the previous financial year;

l13 others received qualified audit opinions ;

l17 received disclaimers ; and

lTwo municipalities received adverse opinions

The MEC said the 19 municipalities that would be monitored closely in the next financial year included Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani and OR Tambo districts together with Buffalo City Metro, Baviaans, Emalahleni, Engcobo, Enyandeni, Great Kei, Inkwanca, Intsika Yethu, King Sabata Dalindyebo, Kouga, Koukamma, Lukhanji, Nxuba, Ngqushwa, Mbizana and Makana local municipalities.

Many of these municipalities have been plagued by political and administrative instability over the past financial year while others have been struggling with petty challenges such as the inability to collect their own revenue.

Over the past year the department has placed 12 municipalities under Section 154 administration , with six of these being among the 19 to be monitored.

"This support shows that we are steadfast in our commitment to build the technical capacity of municipalities and to keep in check the political-administrative interface for the sustained work of municipalities," Qoboshiyane said.

- asandan@dispatch.co.za

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