The Finance Portfolio Committee meeting held on Tuesday, August 14, was definitely not a good day for Umdoni Chief Financial Officer, Ms T Mhlongo. It is impossible for councillors to be responsible for municipal oversight when financial reports are incomplete.
Councillors were vocal in their dissatisfaction and commented as follows: “The reports do not give a true reflection of the financial status of the municipality. How can we ensure compliance when we don’t have the updated figures?
We have no idea of the financial status of the municipality. We could be in a big hole. The accounting officer must tell us where the discrepancy is.
Today is August 14 and we don’t have the end of June closing figures.
The June figures could have a huge impact on the new financial year and we are already in the second month.” Is the huge, questionable, “end of financial year” expenditure in June not akin to fiscal dumping? Several payments of just under R200 000 to the same service provider have created the suspicion that the tender processes were by-passed.
Why does it cost R1 000 to change a tyre?
The GM Financial Services responded that the reports were 95% complete and that there were challenges in obtaining the final figures for the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
The acting municipal manager responded that final figures would be made available at the end of August. Departmental HODs were not present to answer questions on expenditure in their departments.
Councillors made it quite clear that it was up to the acting MM to ensure that there should be consequences for HODs who did not co-operate in submitting reports timeously and that action should be taken against defaulters.
It was not their personal monies but municipal monies that had to be accounted for.
Councillor Baptie stated that this day must count as the worst day since August 2016.
He emphasised that had the various HODs submitted monthly reports on their department’s financial status, the current problems wouldn’t have arisen. Councillors have requested for the intervention of the office of the Auditor General.