Kouga muni advised to put internal controls in place

Auditor-General Terence Nobembe is optimistic that Kouga can achieve a clean audit before 2014 if the municipality focuses on beefing up its internal controls over the next three months.

The Auditor-General (AG) and top members of his staff were in Humansdorp on Monday to discuss how Kouga could achieve all-round excellence. The visit was part of an outreach by the AG to municipalities across South Africa.

The AG said he was pleased that it was not only Kouga’s political leadership and officials at the meeting. Also in attendance were Cacadu Executive Mayor Eunice Kekana and Cacadu Speaker Deon De Vos, as well as representatives from the South African Local Government Agency (Salga), Provincial Treasury and the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs.

Auditor-General Terence Nobembe (third right) visited Kouga on Monday, 23 April, as part of his office’s countrywide outreach to municipalities. Pictured here with him at the Kouga Cultural Centre were Kouga Municipal Manager Sidney Fadi, Salga representative Maria Hermans, Kouga Mayor Booi Koerat, Cacadu Mayor Eunice Kekana, Kouga Speaker Magdalene Dlomo and Cacadu Speaker Deon de Vos.

He said this collective approach was admirable and that his office would also support municipalities’ efforts to achieve clean audit outcomes.

He cautioned, however, that regardless of this approach, it was ultimately the responsibility of Kouga’s Municipal Manager, Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) and Council to take ownership and monitor the municipality’s progress towards financial, compliance and service excellence.

Kouga’s first order of business towards achieving a clean audit outcome should be putting internal controls firmly in place over the next three months, Nobembe advised. This would include the appointment of internal auditors and an audit committee to support MPAC in fulfilling its role.

“If your lack of internal controls is corrected as a matter of urgency, you can achieve a clean audit before 2014,” he said.

Municipal officials, politicians and auditors further needed a clear and common understanding of the regulations regarding compliance, he said.

“We must eliminate different interpretations of what is expected, otherwise, we’ll find ourselves making the same mistakes over and over again.”

Kouga Executive Mayor Booi Koerat welcomed the AG’s visit to the area.

“This outreach is about improving the effectiveness and efficiency of local government,” he said. “When we took over in June last year, we were excited about the opportunity to improve on the work of our predecessors. One of our ideals was to achieve a clean audit, and we remain committed to achieving this ideal.”