The shocking state of governance at South African municipalities was again highlighted by the Auditor-General's reports, released on Wednesday this week.
The 2015/2016 local municipal audit outcomes reveal that of the 263 municipalities in the country, only 49 received clean audits. The City of Cape Town is the only one of the large metros to have received a clean audit.
The Star reported on Thursday that a lack of skills, poor budgeting, cost management and tendering processes, and a lack of accountability are hampering local councils across the country.
The DA-run Western Cape achieved the highest number of clean audits, with 80% of the municipalities in that province reportedly receiving clean audits. The North West, Northern Cape and Free State were named as the provinces with the worst audit results.
According to The Star, auditor-general Kimi Makwetu said: "There was little improvement in these provinces from the previous year's outlook. Focused political will and a considerable investment in ensuring that the basics are done right are required to create a baseline from which accountability can be restored in these provinces."
He reportedly said more needed to be done to hold officials to account.
"If you look at the architecture of managerial roles, a chief financial officer is responsible for managing the finance department, while the municipal manager is in charge of the entire system. If we have made audit recommendations to the institutions, we look at the manager and the finance department to implement them. The longer they are in that institution, the better the achievement of the solutions."
Karen Heese of Municipal IQ told The Star that politicians had been distracted by last year's elections.
"There might not have been leadership from politicians in ensuring there's political control. They might have been concerned about the elections, instead of focusing on municipal management," she reportedly said.