The recent Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) audit report handover function which was held in Potchefstroom saw Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality being awarded an unqualified audit certificate by The Auditor-General of South Africa. This achievement comes at the time when South Africa is celebrating 15 years of developmental local government and also approaching the local government elections.
This shows that the words of the Mayor Alfred Thale during his budget speech were not just a talk shop. In his 2015/16 budget speech presentation Thale alluded the Council has committed itself to act decisively in implementing the audit action plan and obtaining an unqualified audit opinion for the 2014/2015 financial year, following an improved audit opinion for 2013/14.
According to the Mayor foundation was laid by ensuring that the entire structures of the municipalities embraced the programmes. “For the first time, attendance of council meetings by Council members was between 90 and 100%, including in all its committees. The council was functional, with contributions and debates that were very progressive for the municipality”, he said.
The municipality has managed to put systems in place to ensure an improvement in as far as the audit is concerned. A number of committees including the Audit and Risk Committee (ARCOM) were established. Since the municipality relies on revenue for its functioning, strategies were put in place to improve the revenue collection and for the first time the ESKOM account is up to date. The supply chain processes are strictly adhered to. The service providers rendering services are paid within a period of 30 days and as soon as valid invoices are submitted.
However, according to the Municipal Manager, Mr Crosby Maema, the municipality could not have achieved this without a helping hand from the National Treasury. “At the core of the challenges we were facing as the municipality was lack of systems and processes, poor management, lack of capacity as well as lack of monitoring and evaluation. National Treasury heeded the municipality’s call for an intervention and in July 2013 and deployed for an advisor for period of two and a half years through FMIP III to assist in turning the municipality around and we are ripping the fruits today”, said a delighted Maema.
The Financial Management Improvement Programme III (FMIP III) is a European Union funded programme which was initiated in 2012 and is managed by the Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) situated in the Office of the Accountant-General (OAG). Since inception, the programme has focused on the implementation of key PFM capacity building initiatives, particularly in terms of creating an enabling environment and establishing appropriate platforms that will form the basis for ensuing capacity building initiatives. It also catered for the development and review of PFM policies, a skills and learning needs assessment, the development and review of competency frameworks, the development of occupational.
The programme is currently piloting its intervention in three provinces namely North West, KwaZulu /Natal and Western Cape.
The Municipal Manager also thanked The Council of Ramotshere Moiloa, The Grant Thornton Consultants, Auditor General of South Africa, Management of Ramotshere and the entire staff for making their dream a reality. “My gratitude goes to all the role players from Councillors to the general assistants, who made this possible by working tirelessly. There is definitely no turning back. We should start working on the audit improvement plan since we cannot afford to regress and only strive to move Ramotshere Moiloa forward’’, a proud Maema concluded.
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