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Public urgent to comment on draft 2013_14 annual report
The eThekwini Municipality is calling on the public to comment on the Draft Annual Report for the 2013/2014 financial year. The report is a legislated requirement that details the performance of the Municipality over the period mentioned.

The report was tabled at a full Council meeting this morning, 29 January 2015, following a presentation of the Municipality’s audit outcomes by the Office of the KwaZulu-Natal Auditor General (AG). AG’s representative, Merusha Vather, confirmed that the Municipality has once again received an unqualified audit opinion for the 2013/2014 financial year with certain matters of emphasis.

The Municipality’s two entities, Ushaka Marine Theme Park and the Nkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre received clean audits.

While the Municipality received an unqualified report, Vather emphasised various issues that need to be addressed. These include legal claims lodged against the City, amounting to R904.89m; material water losses amounting to R602.6m (131 021 634kl) and a bad debt provision of R2,01bn. Material underspending of conditional grants received from the Department of Transport by R819,69m in respect of the implementation of the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) was also mentioned. She also raised the under spending of the capital budget by R505.36m as a result of delays experienced in the Go Durban Project and the IRPTN project.

The Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo said: “The Municipality welcomes the presentation by the Auditor General which proves that a lot of progress has been made in addressing some of the issues and closing some of the gaps that were identified.” While there are numerous achievements, he acknowledged the challenges highlighted by the Auditor General and committed to continue to address them.

The overall performance of the Municipality during the 2013/2014 Financial Year was found to be commendable with a revenue collection rate of 104.84 % that supersedes every other Municipality in South Africa. This was followed by Tshwane (97.3%) and Mangaung (81.6%). The cash holding is a healthy 108 days against a benchmark of 90 days and the Municipality’s credit rating of AA minus is the best given to a Municipality.

The capital expenditure of approximately R 4,201 million as at 30 June 2014, represents approximately 89% spend on the adjusted budgeted amount. This indicates the level of success in service delivery which is placed high on the City’s agenda.

The operating budget increased from R24 billion to R24.7 billion (2.9%). This below inflation increase was achieved by the introduction of austerity measures such as the drastic reduction in overtime and consultant costs, rationalisation of vacant posts, and limiting overseas travel.

In terms of services delivered, the Municipality can boast that it delivered clean, potable water to 876 953 households. Electricity was provided to 671 123 households and 6823 new subsidized houses and 48 family units were built. The Human Settlements Unit also transferred 910 rental units.

Close scrutiny of irregular expenditure has paid off as evidenced by the drastic reduction from R782.5million in January 2012 to 334 million in the 2013/2014 financial year, resulting in a 57.2% reduction. This is a giant step towards achieving the ultimate target of receiving a clean audit.

The Municipality views the reduction of irregular expenditure as a very high priority. Whilst the irregular expenditure may appear to be very high at R334 million it is important to note that R295 million related to a Section 36 contract which was deemed as irregular even though the Municipality received full value for such expenditure. The irregular expenditure will reduce to R39 million if the Section 36 contract is excluded. Stringent measures have been implemented to drastically reduce utilisation of Section 36 contracts and consequently reduce the risk of possible irregular expenditure.

The Municipality continuously strives to uphold the values of good governance as espoused by the King III report. We boast a robust Audit Committee which meets regularly and errant officials are often called to account. The Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) complements the Audit Committee and ensures accountability by playing an additional oversight role. 

The Municipality also engages regularly with the Auditor General’s office in our efforts to ensure a clean audit. Eradicating fraud and corruption is also placed high on the Municipality’s agenda with the City taking a zero tolerance stance against this scourge.

The Municipality would like to encourage communities and stakeholders to comment on the Draft Annual report before the 1 March 2015. The report is available at the City Hall, City Libraries and Sizakala Centres for consideration and comments. It is also available on the Municipal website, www.durban.gov.za.

Comments may be submitted to Gonie Dorasamy on e-mail: Gonie.Dorasamy@durban.gov.za, or telephone 031 322 7205.

ENDS

Issued by the Head: Communications Unit, Ms Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information contact the Municipal Spokesperson, Mr. Thabo Mofokeng, on 031 311 4820 or 082 731 7456 or e-mail thabo1.mofokeng@durban.gov.za or Gugu Mbonambi on 0313114855 or email: gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za 
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