Attorneys for independent business community Sakeliga have been instructed to prepare a request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to the Auditor-General to obtain specific management reports said to be submitted to the management teams of the various municipalities following completion of the yearly audits by the government auditor.
The management reports are requested from the Auditor-General in respect of 154 problem municipalities countrywide where serious problems regarding service delivery and financial administration are apparent, Sakeliga said in a statement.
The organisation noted that it wishes to analyse these reports with a view to refining long-term strategies aimed at business self-reliance in the midst of State decay at municipal level.
The Auditor-General’s management reports in respect of specific municipalities are not generally available and are not published by the Auditor-General together with the yearly audit reports.
The management reports requested by Sakeliga deal with corruption at specific municipalities, as well as financial and management shortcomings noted by the auditing teams, whereas the yearly audit reports by the Auditor-General, which are generally available to the public, are mostly summarising and formal, Sakeliga explained.
“Sakeliga is, therefore, of the opinion that the information contained in the management reports are of considerable value to communities who want to know exactly how and where their tax money is being wasted or stolen, and what the root causes of service delivery problems are,” it said.
Sakeliga’s request for access to the management reports for the 154 problem municipalities follows the receipt of similar management reports in respect of the past five years for the Kgetlengrivier local municipality in the North West, which services the towns of Koster, Swartruggens and Derby.
In these management reports, corruption, decay and the financial crisis at the municipality are set out in detail. These records – also requested in terms of PAIA – were withheld initially but were made available to Sakeliga following a court order in February last year and subsequent threats of an application to find the municipal manager in contempt of court.
Sakeliga said the decay in several local municipalities has surpassed problems with service delivery and administration and now even entails non-participation in the legal process and common mechanisms for judicial oversight and legality.
Further legal steps would be considered once the management reports of the 154 problem municipalities have been received, it noted.
Meanwhile, Sakeliga is further consulting with its legal team on the management reports that have finally been received from the Kgetlengrivier local municipality, with a view to countering wasteful expenditure and decay at Koster, Derby and Swartruggens.
Further, Sakeliga has already launched a so-called paymaster court case in the Ditsobotla and Naledi municipalities, in North West, to have an independent special paymaster appointed by the court to manage critical aspects of these municipalities’ financial administration to ensure service delivery, it pointed out.