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Examining the EFF’s Claims of a "Clean Audit" in Ekurhuleni

Published March 23, 2024
1 months ago

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng have been quick to celebrate what they describe as a significant achievement for the City of Ekurhuleni's financial governance. However, an examination of the latest Auditor-General's (AG) report presents a contrasting picture. At the center of the controversy is the finance department's head, EFF Councillor Nkululeko Dunga.

Amidst celebration, it is crucial to dissect the AG's terminology to understand the actual performance of the Ekurhuleni finance department. A "clean audit" signifies impeccable financial records without material misstatements, and it includes spotless performance reporting and full compliance with relevant legislation. This standard is not only stringent but also indicative of sterling financial management.

Regrettably, the EFF's bold assertions contrast with the city's received unqualified audit opinion, which, albeit positive, falls short of the "clean" distinction. An unqualified audit opinion denotes the absence of significant inaccuracies within financial statements; however, it may still come with caveats, including issues concerning legal compliance or performance objectives.

Further investigation reveals more concerning details. The AG's findings highlight a total of R516-million in irregular expense and an additional R81-million in expenditures deemed fruitless. Such figures point toward non-trivial administrative lapses that demand attention and action, not unfounded self-congratulation.

It is not to say that Ekurhuleni's finance department hasn't made progress. On the contrary, its standing is somewhat above the norm for South African municipalities, and it is a testament to dedicated efforts towards improved governance. However, compared to the prior year, when the city managed to garner a prized clean audit alongside Cape Town, the latest outcomes represent a regress.

The misrepresentation of these outcomes by the EFF raises concerns about the authenticity of their narratives. The repeated reference to a "clean audit" is not only factually incorrect, given the actual findings, but it also undermines public trust by promoting a skewed accomplishment instead of addressing the prevailing fiscal management issues.

To chart a way forward, it is crucial for all political representations to uphold honesty and engage transparently with audit outcomes. This approach will empower citizens with truthful information and foster an accountable democratic environment that prioritizes rectification over misrepresentation of facts.

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