The report tabled by the Auditor-General (A-G) for the financial year during today’s council meeting at eThekwini Metro Municipality saw councillors of the African National Congress (ANC) absurdly celebrating the ‘unqualified’ audit opinion, despite its damning finding.
With leading issues ranging from crumbling and dilapidating infrastructure, lack of service delivery, irregular expenditure and the unfailing lack of consequence management drowning the City, it is unfortunate that the ANC celebrates such findings.
Reflecting on the previous financial year’s findings, it is horrific that the Municipality still struggles to implement consequence management, with the A-G report highlighting the lack of appropriate action against officials where investigations confirmed financial misdemeanours.
It appears as though this trend will not come to a halt any time soon, as we have seen the blatant refusal by the Speaker of the Municipality to make the findings of the corruption report between the eThekwini Municipality and the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) collaborating to fund the ANC Women’s League elective conference available to us, ensuring that recommendations on the report are not undertaken.
Considering the horrendous state of infrastructure within the Municipality, it is an insult that it has managed to spend only 3.9% of its repair and maintenance budget.
We remain dumbfounded about how the Municipality wrote off an overwhelming R3.6 billion due to irregular expenditures. As per the usual standard of the Municipality, we anticipate that no consequences will be taken against those who have been found to have participated in throwing this large sum down the drain.
It is most concerning when one considers the current living conditions of the residents of eThekwini.
Considering that it is a rural metro, with many residents begging for access to water, housing, infrastructure repairs and renewals, and people still living in the aftermath of the April 2021 floods, it is alarming that this R3.6 billion will be written off.
Unfortunately, it appears that irregular expenditure is on a consistent rise.
Currently, it sits on a sum of R2.4 billion, which is a significant jump of R900 million from the R1.5 billion recorded in the 2021-22 financial year and a further disquieting jump of R1.63 billion from the 770.3 million recorded in 2020-21.
Furthermore, the City has failed to implement suitable measures to prevent the pollution of waterways, which we have been on numerous occasions vocalised unceasingly to the Mayor, to which he has countlessly publically denied.
To make matters worse, six wastewater treatment works (WWTW) do not have valid operating licenses, namely the Kingsburgh, Magabeni, Umkomaas, Mpumalanga, Hillcrest and Isipingo.
Again, we have been vocal about this issue, to which Mayor Kaunda decided to gag us by preventing councillors from performing their most basic mandate, which is playing oversight, to hide the rot that runs deep within the City.
The City desperately needs ethical and capable leaders who will serve the people with integrity.
As ActionSA, we do not welcome this report as it reflects a failed state.