POLITICAL NEWS - Parliament’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs wants the Polokwane municipality to explain why it spent R69 million on consultants. This expenditure allegedly resulted in the institution incurring irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure for the past three financial years.
The committee, under former communications minister Faith Muthambi, also wants the municipality to provide a report on municipal monies lost as a result of its poor audit reports dating back to 2016-17.
Last week, the committee told the municipality’s executive mayor, Thembi Nkadimeng, that the information should reach the committee by yesterday. Some of the reports demanded by the committee include those on procurement of personal protective equipment and the municipal public accounts committee’s response on its outstanding oversight report on the municipality and human settlements.
“The municipality justified its deviation from supply chain management and procurement policies by saying the municipality is complex.
“However, the committee told the municipal manager that all municipalities are complex and that this is no grounds for deviations,” said Muthambi in a statement.
“The Auditor-General had noted the frequent use of consultants in Polokwane’s audit outcome. The committee was unable to reconcile the municipality’s use of consultants with the existence of a municipal financial department under the management of a chief financial officer and many senior managers.
“It is ironic that the municipality has a qualified audit opinion for the 2018-19 financial year, not withstanding its financial department and the use of consultants, which have cost the municipality R69 million, just for preparation of financial statements. This is irreconcilable and doesn’t make sense,” added Muthambi.
Municipal spokesperson Thipa Selala said the decision to use services of consultants was primarily based on the need to capacitate the financial team in a number of areas due to skills gaps in the financial department as identified by issues raised by the auditor-general during the 2016-17 financial year.