25 February 2020   29. Jumad-us-Thaani 1441
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Wednesday, 05 February 2020 14:50

Auditor-General finds R2.3bn in irregular spending in eThekwini Municipality

Durban - A serious lack of consequence management resulted in irregular expenditure of R2.34 billion in the eThekwini Municipality in the past financial year, ending June 2019 - more than double the amount from the previous financial year.

This is according to the Auditor-General’s report presented at a full council meeting last week.

EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda welcomed the presentation and said it showed that while improvements had been made, more work was needed regarding consequence management.

“We will also be looking at the performance contracts of senior management in order to implement controls and achieve our outcomes,” he said.

The auditor-general said irregular expenditure had stood at R2.34bn in the 2018/2019 financial year compared with R733 million in the 2017/2018 financial year.

According to the report, most of the irregular expenditure related to instances where there was inadequate evidence as well as irregularities identified relating to the approval for the use of certain suppliers for the information technology system.

There were also invalid amendments to supply chain management (SCM) contracts. The city had also failed to follow competitive bidding processes.

The A-G’s office recommended that the city’s management improve controls over demand management and planning to ensure that a competitive bidding process was followed and that the accounting officer implemented effective consequence management structures to ensure officials were held accountable for their actions.

The DA’s caucus leader in the city, Nicole Graham, asked Erin Sampson, senior manager at the A-G’s office, who presented the report, what could be done to curb irregular expenditure.

“A lot of what you highlighted in your report seems to relate to a lack of internal accountability, that people are doing things they should not do and there isn’t enough restriction of that behaviour or accountability,” said Graham.

Sampson recommended the implementation of “effective consequence management” and better oversight in SCM to improve the city’s audit outcomes.

Kaunda suggested that they needed to look at the performance conduct of the senior management and that management needed to be accountable to the political leadership of the city.

He added that the audit committee report presented at a recent executive committee meeting showed a slight improvement in consequence management as did the A-G’s office.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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