EVEN with its billing problems, the administration in the City of Johannesburg is not as disorganised as it is made to look in the eyes of ratepayers, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said yesterday.
Her remarks follow the release of the auditor-general's report on Monday on Gauteng local government entities for 2010-11, which noted that there were generally no clear consequences for the poor performance of municipalities, while half of the mayors and councillors disregarded the recommendations on improving financial management.
According to the report, the City of Johannesburg was the only metro out of the eight in SA to receive a qualified audit opinion.
In 2010, the city introduced a computerised billing system which resulted in thousands of customers being incorrectly billed.
The provincial governments were expected to support the turnaround of administrative performance of municipalities, which were at the centre of service delivery.
Failures in local government could become a bad reflection on the leadership of the province, particularly on the premier.
Speaking at a media briefing, Ms Mokonyane said the shortcomings identified by the auditor-general's report could be resolved. She said the City of Johannesburg had shown movement towards adherence to the norms and standards, adding that the matters raised by the auditor-general in the previous financial year were different to this year' s.
"There is leadership in Johannesburg and it is not at the level where we perceive it to be. With all our collective efforts, I am sure Johannesburg will not be in the same position in the next audit outcome."
Ms Mokonyane released the results of the survey on the Quality of Life in Gauteng this week, which revealed that customer satisfaction was higher in Johannesburg than in any other Gauteng area.
Gauteng local government and housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said the municipalities had to act on officials who did wrong, and poor performance had to be accompanied by serious consequences.
Ms Mekgwe, who is the former MEC of the Gauteng health department - which had been placed under administration by the government over financial mismanagement - was appointed the new local government MEC last week after the resignation of Humphrey Mmemezi. He was found guilt of abusing his official vehicle and credit card.
Ms Mekgwe said yesterday that her department would provide support to the municipalities to deal with corrupt employees.
Corporate executive at the auditor-general Paul Serote said the regression in Gauteng local government centred around smaller municipal entities, in the City of Johannesburg as well as Ekurhuleni. "It is the regression that is speaking to the clean audit last year and now a qualified audit opinion."
Democratic Alliance Gauteng local government spokesman Fred Nel said: "It is clear from the auditor-general's report that local government in Gauteng is in serious trouble and that attempts to turn it around have failed dismally."
However, Gauteng was not the only province likely to miss the clean audit target. The consolidated 2010-11 local government audit outcomes across all provinces did not show improvement, with about 50% of auditees unable to submit statements in time, or obtaining financially unqualified audit opinions.
"Except for the 5% that received clean audit opinions, all the auditees had material findings on their service delivery reporting and/or non-compliance with laws and regulations," read the report.
Yesterday, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and her counterpart in North West also wasted no time to indicate that the faultlines identified by the auditor-general report would be addressed.