Jackson Mthembu. Picture: SOWETAN
Jackson Mthembu. Picture: SOWETAN

The government wants unauthorised and wasteful expenditure in municipalities to be reduced by 80% within five years, Jackson Mthembu said on Wednesday. 

Mthembu, minister in the presidency for planning, monitoring and evaluation, set the ambitious target during his address during the budget vote in parliament. 

The 2018/2019 municipal audit outcome showed  that irregular expenditure was down to R25.9bn from R29.7bn in 2016/2017.  For the same financial year fruitless and wasteful expenditure was  R1.3bn in 189 municipalities while unauthorised spending was R12.85bn in 155 municipalities

Mthembu said that local government had to be supported with skills, financial management, infrastructure and maintenance to “restore trust in this critical sphere of government”.

“We want to ensure 80% reduction in unauthorised, irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure in municipalities and enforce consequence management against officials charged with financial misconduct by 2024. We want public trust and confidence in local government to increase from 46% to 80% by 2024,” Mthembu said. 

Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu raised the deteriorating accountability in municipalities during his release of the 2018/2019 audit outcomes released in June, saying there was a lack of consequences for transgressions and irregularities.

Mthembu told MPs that building a capable, ethical and developmental state — one of  the key priorities in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address — was one of the core responsibilities of his department. 

“If we are to achieve our national imperatives, we must build a capable developmental state to constantly monitor and evaluate the implementation of our development strategies like the National Development PLan and its various programmes,” Mthembu said. 

He said as part of the planning, monitoring and evaluation of  government’s work the 2019-2024 Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) was developed to serve as a framework for implementing the 6th administration’s programme of action. 

“This new implementation paradigm is a radical shift to a comprehensive framework that is inclusive of resourcing, integration of all public sector institutions, and social partners, which informs all levels of government planning through an Integrated Planning Framework,” Mthembu said.

He said the new MTSF combined the NDP five-year implementation plan with a revamped integrated monitoring system (IMS) and the accountability framework. 

 The five-year implementation plan will be spatially referenced, and will be monitored at district municipal level. The plan will show how, where, when and by whom the different priorities will be implemented, and in which portfolio and level of government. 

“Therefore, we will be able to monitor exactly what the impact of each government programme is and whether they are delivering the desired outcome. This IMS  and accountability framework will therefore also allow us to make the necessary interventions as and when the need arises,” Mthembu said.

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