Premier Stan Mathabatha warned delegates to the 2017 Local Government Summit that serious consequences were to follow if municipalities received disclaimer audit opinions in future as it made people lose confidence in those they have elected as their representatives in government.
Mathabatha delivered the opening address at the two-day summit of the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) at Protea Hotel Ranch Resort on Tuesday.
The Premier further urged all delegates to take the business of the summit seriously. “The people of this province have high and very legitimate expectations from this gathering. They would be disappointed if we were to reduce this gathering to a mere talk shop. Our people expect us to come out of this summit with sound and solid resolutions which will help us unblock the identified service delivery bottlenecks,” the Premier said.
The event was attended by delegates from across the government sector and included Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen, MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Seaparo Sekoati, MEC for Provincial Treasury, Rob Tooley and MEC for Health, Phophi Ramathuba. Also present were John Mpe, Capricorn District Municipality Executive Mayor, Thembi Nkadimeng, Polokwane Executive Mayor and Malesela Dikgale, Chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders.
The theme of the summit was ‘Building a developmental local government by getting the basics right’ and the objectives were to communicate and share the state of municipalities in the province, to set an agenda for the current term of local government in order to accelerate service delivery and restore people’s confidence in local government and to provide a platform for dialogue on intergovernmental responsibilities to improve the performance of municipalities.
Mathabatha also referred to the theme of the summit and emphasised that getting basics right means that local authorities should be well positioned and capacitated to deliver clean drinking water, decent sanitation, electricity, shelter, timeous waste removal and quality roads.
“It simply means that we must be seen by communities to be doing the right thing. An example of this is clean governance. Our municipalities must improve their audit outcomes and the one thing we should never tolerate is a disclaimer audit opinion. Nothing undermines our people like a disclaimer audit opinion,” the Premier said and added that it can never, and should never be accepted that any municipal entity can simply fail or refuse to submit books to the Auditor General.
“It is this type of behaviour that makes our people to lose confidence in those that they have elected to represent them,” Mathabatha said and directed that there should be serious consequences against all senior officials and councillors of a municipality that gets a disclaimer from the Auditor-General.
Story, photos & videos: BARRY VILJOEN