The Guard

The Truth On Board

AG report raises red flags for TMDM

By Emily Setona

CLARENS – The tabling of the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality’s budget adjustment report confirmed that the Auditor General’s (AG) presentation was spot on when it expressed that the TMDM needs to find the root causes for administrative problems in the municipality.

According to the AG’s annual report of 2022/2023 that was presented virtually by Lerato Mokorotlo the report’s findings indicated that adequate supporting evidence was not provided for auditing therefore the AG could not determine if the reported achievement was indeed correct.

“Performance planning and reporting has a direct impact on service delivery and TMDM shows a lack of controls to ensure that the service delivery and budget implementation plan is adequately reviewed to ensure that it complies with the applicable laws and regulations. This will eventually result in the municipality not being fully transparent when reporting on its planned targets and actual achievements and thus making them non complaint,” Mokorotlo said.

Most of the councillors found the AG’s report a bit disturbing and raised their concerns regarding some of the findings. Municipal Public Committee (MPAC) chairperson Estalia Chabeli said the following in response to the report,

“Like my colleagues have said this report is a bit disturbing but I think that it is the responsibility of all of us as council and the administration. From the perspective of MPAC I can say that we have thoroughly investigated but probably there is not much that we have done.

So, I feel that we need to invite you so that you can explain in detail to us what is this further investigation we need from the perspective of MPAC. Also, in line with compliance and long stand regulations especially when you mentioned how effective the action plan needs to be we have been monitoring as MPAC we are going to investigate everything so that we can identify what are the root causes so that we can focus on them.”

Before tabling the budget adjustments executive mayor Conny Msibi said that the council appreciates and acknowledges the AG’s report and its findings.

“I think that the report that has been tabled is with the intention of influencing us sufficiently and appraising us sufficiently for us to build a strong wise and efficient team. We have matters that have been raised for the past three years that we are all aware of, we don’t just want to only comply, but we want to make adequate follow-ups on all that has been said here. This council has the responsibility of playing oversight with the intention of intervention not interference. It’s really disturbing to have a management team that sits bimonthly but then we get such a report,” Msibi said in Response to the AG’s presentation.

The proposed adjustments to the budget of TMDM for the financial year 2023/2024 were as follows; the operating revenue of the municipality was adjusted by R 962, 995,00 million making the total operating revenue amounting to R 200, 172, 345 million, while the total operating expenditure was adjusted by R 2, 207, 980 million with a total operating expenditure amounting to R 186, 615, 3070 million and the capital expenditure was adjusted by R 1, 245, 025 million leading to the total capital expenditure amounting to R 13, 556, 975 million.

Furthermore, the expenditure for employee related costs was adjusted by R 2, 571,009 million and put the total expenditure on salaries R 104, 896, 351 million and this raised serious concerns for some councillors because the total expenditure for service delivery matters such as the construction of a bridge were adjusted from R 10, 000, 000 million to R 4, 736, 775 million.

Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipality executive mayor Conny Msibi.

Councillor Moeketsi Lebesa from the Dikwankwetla Party of South (DPSA) Africa raised the following concerns about the tabled budget adjustments,

“The municipality has just received an unqualified audit opinion from the AG, and there are alarming concerns that require immediate attention. Specifically, unresolved irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure exceeding 16 million raises serious red flags. Additionally, the council’s adjustment budget reallocates funds from capital projects to operational costs, potentially hindering its ability to effectively serve the community. These developments indicate a pressing need for the municipality to address the identified issues and reassess its budget priorities to better align with community needs and long-term sustainability.”

Councillor Eric Motloung of the Democratic Alliance (DA) said that the budget does not honour the primary function of the municipality of serving the community so as the DA they will not support this budget.

“This budget does not seek to address the important needs in society of infrastructure development of disaster management so we will not vote for its implementation,” Motloung said.