Parliament concerned about poor municipal audit outcomes

By Joburg Post

The Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke met with parliament to brief them on the local government audit outcomes for the 2020/21 financial year. 
 The AG stated in its report that local government audit outcomes were in a poor state when the previous administration took over in 2016/17 and there has been no improvement since then. Parliament also heard that some municipalities have improved their audit outcomes, but others regressed. Only 61 out of the 257 municipalities in the 2020/21 audit report have better audit outcomes than in the 2016/17 audit report, while 56 of them have worse audit outcomes. 
 Parliament in a statement expressed their appreciation to the AG for the positive results on many municipalities’ audit outcomes as a result of her interventions and the interventions of other agencies. “These interventions should be highlighted and used where there is regression, the statement said. Parliament also emphasised the importance of increasing the capacity of the Office of the AG to ensure its work continues and translates into improved municipal financial management and audit outcomes. 
 The AG told parliament that despite reporting shortcomings and providing recommendations over the years, as well as numerous costly national and provincial initiatives and interventions, the poor state of key financial management controls shows that municipalities have not yet mastered financial reporting, as 75% of them were not able to submit quality financial statements for auditing. 
 The statement further added that, parliament remain concerned that the state of municipal audit outcomes is not in a good space, but they look forward to interacting with the full audit report as committees of Parliament, particularly SCOPA and the committees responsible for overseeing local government. The audit as the technical product must assist in finding solutions that will lead to local government functionality. 

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