Council ready to tackle concerns raised by AG
The Kouga Council is set to re-open investigations into unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure totalling R483,2-million and dating back to 2010.
This is according to the 2015/2016 Audit Report Action Plan that was tabled to the Council on Friday (27 January 2017) as part of the municipality’s second draft Annual Report for the 2015/2016 financial year.
Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said while the municipality had received an unqualified Audit Report for 2015/2016, the Office of the Auditor-General (AG) had made it clear that all was not as it should be at the municipality.
“One of the issues raised by the AG was the R483,2-million. This amount was accumulated over seven years, from 2010 to 2016, and was never dealt with conclusively by the previous Councils,” she explained.
“That is a lot of money for which there is no proper account. We owe it to the people of Kouga to determine why this money was not spent according to regulations and recovered where possible.”
She said the matter would be referred to the new Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC), chaired by Clr Atri Carstens.
“MPAC will investigate the matter and make recommendations to Council as to how it should be taken forward.”
The Mayor said other matters of concern raised by the AG in the 2015/2016 report included the lack of proper performance management and asset management.
Also flagged were water losses totalling 38,61%.
“This is well above the norm of 30% and translates to about R20-million in context of the annual budget,” she said. “That is unacceptable, especially under the present circumstances where we are hard-pressed to save water.”
According to the Audit Report, the losses are mainly as a result of faulty meters and illegal connections. Other contributing factors are the ageing and deteriorating water infrastructure.
Van Lingen said the 2015/2016 Audit Report, as well as the Action Plan to address matters emphasised by the AG, would be made available to the public for comment as part of the second draft Annual Report.
“We would like to encourage residents to play an active part in this process,” she said.
“Together we need to clean up the mess we inherited so that we can move Kouga forward in line with our new vision which puts ‘good governance’ and ‘service excellence’ first.”