CREDIT cards issued to MECs in Gauteng can be used locally and internationally for official government business, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said on Tuesday.

"We've taken reasonable steps to ensure the prudent use of the corporate credit cards by complying with the prescribed guidelines while being conscious of the fiscal challenges that our province faces," she said.

Earlier this month, Gauteng local government and housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi resigned after it emerged he had used his government credit card to make personal purchases. He said he had misunderstood the terms of use of the card and had since paid back the money.

MECs now have a monthly limit of between R50000 and R100000. "We have always strived to stay within the prescribed monthly limits," the premier said.

She said current guidelines for the use of corporate credit cards were not definitive, but the provincial government was reviewing the guidelines to make clear their interpretation and enforcement.

"We want to reassure the people of Gauteng that we shall continue to do everything in our power to exercise fiscal discipline," Ms Mokonyane said.

Only 5% of local government entities in Gauteng received clean audits in the 2010-11 financial year, a report by the auditor-general showed on Tuesday.

Seventy-one percent of municipal entities in Gauteng received unqualified audits with findings, and 24% of municipalities received qualified audit reports without findings.

The City of Johannesburg was the only metro in the country to receive a qualified audit opinion for the year. However, South Africa's biggest economic hub did show some improvement, with none of the audited entities receiving disclaimers this year, compared with 7% in the previous financial year.

Ms Mokonyane said the provincial government had already acted to tackle problems identified during the audit process. This included setting up a forum to address the training of officials, among other issues.

Glenda Steyn, chief whip for the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng, on Tuesday said the premier had "correctly highlighted the fact that guidelines for the use of the corporate credit cards are not definitive", adding: "Sadly, some MECs in the past have used the vague guidelines to hide a multitude of excesses."

With Sapa