Corruption and wastage must stop

Less and less state employees make a “tangible” contribution to social progress. Many earn salaries but do little that can be measured in “actual” value. This program of “strategic futility” is common in municipalities where income often only covers salaries. Frequently, there is no money for any infrastructure repair, development etc.

The 2018/19 “Consolidated Report on the Local Government Audit Outcomes” confirms that South Africa is reversing instead of moving forward regarding accountability. This was before Covid19, so next year’s Auditor General’s report, will be much worse.

The title for corrupt and least accountable is competitive as no municipality in the Free State or North West received a clean audit. The Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu/Natal, Limpopo, Northern Cape each had one. Mpumalanga has two and Western Cape had 13 clean audits.

The Eastern Cape report states “the cost of accountability failure is high, extensive disorder in accounting records, prolonged vacancies in key positions and instability in councils, poor procurement processes. No consequences for poor performance and transgressions, unreliable reporting on municipal finances and programs and irregular expenditure of R11 billion”. The Free State report states “the outcomes were characterized by a lack of financial disciplines, an unwillingness to comply with legislation, and a general disregard for internal controls and a deliberate lack of accountability by the political and administrative leadership”.

“The result is that failure of infrastructure projects and the lack of infrastructure upkeep are costing million with little consequences for the responsible officials and contractor. There was no effort to recover loss, with communities suffering from loss of leadership”.

The reading infers that, “strategic futility” is a tactic to promote corruption. It allows politicians and officials to operate without accountability. You can appoint your “preferred” consultants at extra costs to taxpayers to do the work that officials should do but cannot. Qualified people are kept out of the system, as a capable professional will undermine the corrupt politician and official.

We need a “Commission of inquiry” to investigate “strategic futility”. Those who do not add value must be replaced by qualified and capable people. Example, when a municipality cannot achieve a clean audit after 10 years, the “writing is figuratively on the wall”. This means that a change is critical. The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) is working hard but wasting energy with state employees that refuse to be responsible. Something must change as our taxes cannot be wasted on useless people sitting behind desks and then producing nothing all day long whilst there are honest hard working people that are unemployed.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress