THE cash strapped Vhembe district municipality which lost over R300 million that was illegally invested in the VBS Mutual Bank faces a bleak future in terms of service delivery objectives following another poor audit showing.
The municipality’s executive mayor Dowelani Nenguda said during the state of the district address on Friday that the municipality has implemented austerity measures and its revenue collection is improving.
However, Auditor General advocate Kimi Makwetu said the resultant lack of funds in the municipality affected its ability to deliver on infrastructure and maintenance projects in the current year.
He added that the achievement of service delivery objectives in the coming years looks bleak.
The AG revealed that the beleaguered Limpopo municipality achieved a qualified audit opinion in the Local Government Audit Outcomes for the 2018/19 financial year.
A qualified audit opinion is a reflection of the auditor’s inability to give an unqualified or clean audit opinion.
The municipality has been cited as being among the worst run municipalities by the AG’s office. In the past financial year the municipality received a disclaimer audit opinion, meaning that it had restricted the scope of the examination to such an extent that the auditor was unable to form an opinion.
But Nenguda claimed they are on a correct path to achieve a clean audit after adhering to the cost-containment regulations when doing procurement.
“We implemented austerity measures and municipal revenue collection is improving. We have adopted audit action plan to deal with all issues raised by the auditor general. We have now improved on VAT recovery and have a revenue enhancement strategy,” he added.
However, Nenguda maintains that the municipality still faces crucial challenges which need to be tackled including the lack of water in majority of communities.
“Ageing infrastructures which need regular maintenance is a challenge. Our expenditure on maintenance is high and also causes unplanned interruption of water supply. I urge all our citizens to be patient whilst we address this problem,” he said.
“The other challenge is illegal connection to our water infrastructure. We urge all our citizens to report illegal water connections to their ward councillors. Water is a scarce resource and it must be used sparingly,” he added.
The municipality is failing to shake off its negative image after the arrest of its former Portfolio Head of Finance who allegedly sent threatening videos of a firing gun to Nenguda and his colleague.
Ndivhuwo Calvin Radamba, 38, was arrested in Polokwane early this month after he allegedly threatened Nenguda Dowelani and Thulamela Local Municipality mayor Avhashoni Tshifhango.
He is out on R3000 bail.
(Compiled by Inside Metros staff)