IMFO Conference

Financial knowledge shared in eThekwini

KZN MEC, Nomusa Dube, speaking at the IMFO Conference

The Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, South Africa's Auditor General, Kimi Makwetu and KZN MEC, Nomusa Dube, were among the keynote speakers at the recent Institute of Municipal Financial Officers (IMFO) Conference hosted by the eThekwini municipality. 

IMFO provides a platform for stakeholders to exchange ideas knowledge, best practices and products for service excellence and maximum financial performance. IMFO aims to provide within the statutory framework, effective financial accounting advice, as well as settling and maintaining high financial standards and controls in the area of Local Government.

The Chair of the Finance and Procurement Committee, Fawzia Peer, told the more than 1700 delegates at the 84th IMFO Conference, hosted in conjunction with Standard Bank and PricewaterHouseCoopers, that in terms of Local Government and the public sector, tremendous progress has been made. Over 3.1 million houses have been built, more than 6 million new households have gained access to clean water and more than 5 million households have been connected to electricity. 

“As we enter the 20th year of our democracy next year, I would like you to do some hand-holding and ensure full compliance. A key issue in this regard is the goal to achieve clean audits by 2014. Due attention needs to be given to this issue. We should not be debating the issue of service delivery versus compliance. We should be achieving both.

"Over the past two years there has been a huge focus on supply chain management in municipalities, in particular the R14 billion in irregular expenditure incurred across the country. Whilst we can defend this and argue that it relates mainly to procedural issues, it is still an issue of non-compliance. It is a concern. In this regard, we require appropriate SCM systems, skilled staff, training, and zero tolerance towards non-compliance and fraud and corruption. Appropriate sanctions should be instituted against staff who repeatedly do not comply. They must face disciplinary action otherwise the expenditure should not be regularised," Peer said.

Apart from the SCM regulations, there are several other areas of compliance in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and the Municipal Systems Act. 

"We also cannot ignore the issue of sustainable local government. Due attention must be given to revenue management, expenditure, provision of services, and asset management in terms of rehabilitation and replacement costs. Optimisation of revenue collection is a key issue. In addition, we need to grow the rates base by promoting growth and attracting new businesses. As regards expenditure, whilst we have pressing demands, we need to ensure a balance between social, economic and rehabilitative expenditure. Prioritisation of expenditure in the longer-term is also important to enable us to deliver on our promises to our people.  Furthermore, we must ensure that our tariffs are affordable to enable our communities to pay,” Peer concluded.



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Issue 68