kimi_makwetuThe Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) is pleased by what the Auditor General, Kimi Makwetu, has described as an improvement in the 2013/14 local government audit outcomes, released yesterday. IMATU also welcomes the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Pravin Gordhan’s, view that disciplinary action be implemented against negligent and poorly performing councillors.

The Minister was commenting on the 2013/14 local government audit outcomes, he further indicated that continually underperforming municipalities will be referred to the relevant political parties to consider a change in the leadership.

“The Auditor General’s findings mirror the very same issues that we are trying to address on the ground. Every year our members are promised that supply chain management and financial controls will improve, corruption and nepotism will be tackled and vacancies will be filled. It is however, very difficult for workers to achieve effective and efficient service delivery while these serious issues continue to go unaddressed,” commented IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

Despite an increase in the number of clean audits received by municipalities and municipal entities, IMATU strongly believes that further improvement can only take place when municipal management commits to taking ownership of municipal performance practices, insists on correctly qualified staff, roots out corruption and provides strong leadership.

Furthermore, IMATU has noted that there is an increasing reliance on consultants to assist municipalities with their financial reporting and preparation. This failure to strengthen internal controls, adequately train staff and fill vacancies with the appropriately skilled officials must be addressed. Stronger consequences must be put in place to deal with the problems of fraud, corruption and poor service delivery in municipalities and municipal entities.

“When our employers collectively record R687 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, it becomes very difficult to understand why our members cannot receive a decent wage increase this year. The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) pleads poverty at the wage negotiating table yet municipal managers continue receiving huge salaries and performance bonuses are awarded in the face of these dismal results,” commented Koen.

IMATU is committed to working towards achieving an efficient and sustainable service delivery model at local government level, however the commitment of its members on the ground must be matched by decisive leadership, accountability and political will at the top,” concluded Koen.