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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Auditor-General denies delays in releasing report on Ekurhuleni’s finances

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The Auditor-General has denied that she delayed the release of the financial statements of the Ekurhuleni metro for the 2022/23 financial year following claims by top officials on the matter.

But Ekurhuleni MMC for Finance Nkululeko Dunga, who is also the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Gauteng provincial chairperson, has pointed a finger at the office of the auditor-general saying it failed to submit the report with audited financial statements.

The auditor-general has described as misleading statements that the delay was on her part.

The office of the auditor-general said it completed its work on time. But the problem was on the side of Ekurhuleni, which raised a dispute.

“The auditor-general of South Africa (AGSA) confirms that it has completed the metro’s audit on time, however the municipality’s management has raised a dispute with the national audit office regarding their audit outcome for the 2022/23 financial year, which caused the delay in tabling the report. The matter is handled by the two parties in line with the AGSA’s longstanding dispute processes,” said the auditor-general’s office.

“For many years we have successfully used these processes to settle audit disputes in a fair manner, as guided by the Public Audit Act and the international standards on auditing. It is also worth noting that the national audit office is committed to carry its constitutional mandate impartially, without fear, favour or prejudice to all those we audit. As South Africa’s supreme audit institution, we conduct our work in a manner that aims to benefit the people of South Africa at all times. This is what the Constitution of the PAA obliges us to do.”

But Dunga said the metro submitted its financial statements in August last year and a month later they submitted financial statements for their entities.

He accused the office of the auditor-general of having a political agenda for delaying the release of the financials of the metro.

Dunga said they have nothing to hide in their finances in Ekurhuleni,

It was not the intention or plan of the metro to keep the report away from public scrutiny.

He said they have complied with the law by first submitting the financial statements of the metro to the AG in August last year. A month later they submitted the financial statements of entities that fall under the municipality to the auditor-general.

“In terms of section 126 (3) (b) of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the AGSA is obligated to submit an audit report on these statements to the accounting officer of the municipality within three months of receipt of the statement. It has been four months, well over the legislatively stipulated timeframe, and there is no acceptable explanation for the delay,” said Dunga.

He said the delay was not on the side of Ekurhuleni as they have done everything that is required in terms of the law.

Dunga called on the office of the auditor-general not to be drawn into political matters.

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