Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Cogta Providing Support to Struggling Municipalities

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen says the department is providing support to municipalities that were flagged as having performed poorly in the Auditor General’s latest report.

The Minister said this when the Governance Cluster Ministers fielded oral questions at the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

“The department has a Back to Basics Programme as an overall framework and a government-wide programme to assist municipalities in executing their day to day activities.

“The department is working together with the Auditor General’s office, National Treasury, provincial Cooperative Governance and provincial Treasury departments, which have a dedicated capacity to assist and support municipalities to develop what we term the post-audit action plans.

“I must indicate that the provincial Treasury and Cogta [departments] monitor the implementation of these post-audit action plans on a quarterly basis in those municipalities that appear on the AG’s report,” he said.

UDM MP from the Eastern Cape Lennox Gaehler had asked the Minister if any steps were being taken to address irregular expenditure and improve accountability as highlighted by Auditor General Kimi Makwetu in his 2015/16 municipal audit outcomes report in June this year.

The Minister said the department was also supporting the municipalities through the Revenue Enhancement and Records Management programmes, which are linked to the Back to Basics pillar of financial management.

As part of consolidating the implementation of phase two of the department’s Back to Basics programme, the department was currently engaging with the provincial Cogta to develop a joint-programme between national and provincial Cogta, as well as the provincial and National Treasury departments on how to provide support to critical municipalities and also to develop intervention plans for each of the municipalities identified as critical.

“I must indicate that as we implement this second phase of Back to Basics, we are also looking at the remaining 18 months of our administration.”

The department has also prioritised the worst municipalities that happen to be part of what the Auditor General has raised in his report for support and constant monitoring.

Meanwhile, responding to a follow up question, the Minister said the department was addressing the lack of consequence management, which is usually a challenge in municipalities when accounting officers fail to act on the Auditor General’s recommendations.

“One of the biggest weakness of our municipal system is a lack of consequence management.

“We have seen cases being brought to the attention of the executive authority or maybe the accounting officers and there has been a challenge of how do you manage these cases, but I must indicate the commitment to the resuscitation of the anti-corruption strategy, as well as the resuscitation of the anti-corruption forum has definitely introduced a new approach of handling such cases,” said the Minister.

“I don’t have the statistics now, but there are cases that have been dealt with as a result of some of these unfortunate financial practices and we think through such actions, we will root out some of these cases.” he said. – SAnews.gov.za