Letter from Chris Mann

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A look at the Auditor General’s annual audit of the Makana municipality over the past few years reveals numerous defects. Ratepayers can be justifiably incensed by the misuse of the Municipal
Infrastructure grant and the deflection of payments for electricity to pay accounts other than Eskom’s.

Local unemployment is tragically high and in South Africa as a whole some nine million people lack paid work. Seen in this context, a municipality like ours, unionised workers included, is a salaried elite stealing from ratepayers and from the poor.

From the first of April, the Public Audit Amendment Act 5 of 2018 becomes operational.

This permits the Auditor General to do the following: to refer suspected material irregularities arising from an audit to a relevant public body for investigation; to take appropriate remedial action; to issue a certificate of debt where an accounting officer or accounting authority failed to recover losses from a responsible person and to instruct the relevant executive authority to collect the debt.

Ratepayers and civil society activists are urged to read the next Auditor General’s report, available online, and to ensure that remedial action is taken in the case of what auditors coyly refer to as ‘irregularities’.

If this means that the Auditor General refers local irregularities to the Hawks, and that individual municipal employees and councilors are held personally responsible to pay for misspent funds, then so be it.

Chris Mann

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