Despite fears that the City of Tshwane is heading for bankruptcy, the DA-led multiparty government announced yesterday it had received an unqualified audit from the auditor-general (AG) in its first year in office.
Member of the mayoral committee for finance Mare-Lise Fourie said mayor Solly Msimanga’s administration had achieved a good financial record by tightening controls over supply chain processes, slashing unauthorised and unnecessary expenditure and scrapping the costly PEU smart meter contract.
“The AG flagged [PEU] as one of the biggest items of irregular expenditure which has now been addressed,” said Fourie.
“Similarly, the city is currently in the process of disentangling itself from the wholly unaffordable broadband and fleet management contracts and we are optimistic that the close of the next financial year will see us free of these contracts.”
By June 30, 2017, cash available to the city totalled R2.1 billion, an increase of R950 million compared with the R1.2 billion in the previous financial year, she said.
But there was a concern about the increase in consumer debt, spiking by R1.6 billion to R10.2 billion.
“The difficult economic climate and the rise of unemployment levels have had an impact on payment levels. “Actions taken in terms of the credit control policy also were not fully effective and these factors resulted in the average collection rate on current billing decreasing to 90.4% compared to 93.1% in 2015/16.”
The auditor-general’s financial statements would be presented to council today.
Msimanga said he would be taking to the council sitting a new model to encourage residents to pay their bills.
“We are looking at this problem. We will look at a 12-month period [and] if a person can commit to paying without fail, a possible percentage of that bill will be wiped off. “We have also realised that there is a lot of meter tampering which has contributed to noncollection of revenue.”