The DA notes, once again, the Mahikeng Local Municipality’s qualified audit opinion for the 2022/23 financial year. The Auditor-General’s (AG) report was presented to Council last week.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the municipality received a qualified audit opinion for its inability to comply with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), a culture of impunity due to a lack of consequence management in instances of transgressions by officials and incurring unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
Mahikeng incurred R108 million in irregular expenditure, while unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R400 million incurred in the previous financial year is still under investigation.
The persistent financial mismanagement in Mahikeng is indicative of the ineffective Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) which fails to hold officials responsible for their poor performance or to ensure the implementation of consequence management.
Year after year, the recommendations made by the AG are completely ignored, while poor planning, poor decision-making and poor performance, fraud and corruption continue with impunity.
The DA has consistently raised concerns over the irregular appointments of senior management officials. We welcome the AG’s findings that the salaries paid to senior managers exceed the prescribed upper limits. This is a major concern because the ANC-led Council continues to adopt unfunded budgets, but officials receive generous salaries and benefits for failing to deliver even the most basic services.
The AG found that the appointment of the Director of Infrastructure, Mrs Mmatlhapi Moloi-Tsae, was irregular because of a failure to verify qualifications while no official identity documentation or a driver’s license was on file. While this appointment was the only one flagged, there are various other irregular appointments made in the 2022/23 financial year. The DA will request the AG to investigate the appointment of:
• The Director of Community Services, Dr Kesolofetse Lefenya-Motshegare, who does not meet the minimum required qualifications or work experience;
• The appointment of the Operations Manager, Lekgowa Mahole, in the Mayor’s office, a political appointment, who was appointed as acting Chief Operations Officer for nine months, a position that does not appear on the organogram, is not budgeted for and contravenes HR regulations, while receiving two salaries.
The DA will, through its Member of the Standing Public Accounts Committee (SCOPA) in the North West Provincial Legislature, Freddy Sonakile, write to the Chairperson, Job Dliso, to request that Mahikeng accounts for these irregular appointments.