Shortly before the council meeting on Thursday, but more than a month later than in previous years, the Auditor General (AG) Kimi Makwetu issued an unqualified audit report for the City of Tshwane (COT) for 2014/15.
This comes after an allegation by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) that the AG’s report was delayed due to political pressure on him to refrain from signing off on a qualified report or even a disclaimer.
The DA based its allegations on the AG’s management report for the same financial year that was dated November 30 2015 and made several damning findings. The report, which Moneyweb has seen, is a document the AG issues to the auditee and is not meant to be made public.
The city’s controversial prepaid metering contract with PEU Capital Partners loomed large in the management report.
Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said in a statement that this is the city’s fifth consecutive unqualified audit report. It was tabled in Council on Thursday.
Ramokgopa said the city “condemns and rejects” the allegations of misuse and misappropriation of funds as unfounded and malicious as no such findings were made by the AG.
Moneyweb has not yet seen the audit report.
Ramokgopa said “nothing in law prevents any auditee from engaging officially with the office of the AG in relation to the audit process underway. Such engagements are standard practice to ensure compliance with the timelines in the MFMA (Municipal Finanace Management Act) with a view to finalising the audit report. Therefore, the allegation of undue influence undermines the integrity of the Office of the Auditor-General.”
Ramokgopa rejected the DA’s allegation that the AG found that R4 billion of the city’s expenditure during the reporting period was incurred in an unlawful manner, and therefore classified as irregular. He did not disclose the amount contained in the audit report.
Ramokgopa said: “As a responsible city, we respect the independence of the Chapter 9 institutions, such as the Office of the Auditor-General, hence the City’s approach to remain reticent on commenting on reports purporting to be those of the Auditor-General. COT remains committed to good governance and will continue in our endeavour to achieve a clean audit.
“This administration has been prudent with public finances since it came into office five years ago, and today’s release of the audit report confirms our frugal respect for the public purse and good governance.”
The MFMA provides timelines for the audit process, which normally requires the AG to issue the report before the end of December, failing which he has to provide reasons for the delay.
The AG has not reacted to allegations that he was in breach of the MFMA for failing to submit such a report with reagrd to the City of Tshwane’s audit report