• The City of Ekurhuleni receives a CLEAN AUDIT opinion from the Auditor General for the 2019/2020 financial year
• It has achieved ZERO irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure for the past three consecutive years
Today, 31 March 2021, the Auditor-General of South Africa (AG) tabled the audit outcomes of the City of Ekurhuleni’s 2019/2020 financial statements in an extraordinary council meeting in Germiston.
The City of Ekurhuleni is proud to announce that it received an overall clean audit opinion from the AG. A clean audit outcome occurs when submitted financial statements are free from material misstatements (in other words, a financially unqualified audit opinion), and there are no material findings on reporting on performance objectives and non-compliance with legislation.
In late 2016, the fifth administration of the City of Ekurhuleni initiated a turnaround strategy for the city’s finances, coined “Operation Clean Audit”.
The interventions introduced by the plan included a skills review of personnel working within the Finance Department; monthly reconciliations of key accounts; stringent policy implementation checklists; and an agile framework for responding to legislative developments, especially during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Compliance with the Municipal Standard Chart of Accounts (mSCOA) also served as a fundamental pillar of Operation Clean Audit.
The City’s Audit Committee conducted quarterly reviews of internal processes and interrogated the City’s performance to ensure that the administration remained committed to improving the control environment. This oversight from the Audit Committee, which also contributed to the effectiveness of the turnaround strategy, translated into the positive audit outcomes.
To date, Operation Clean Audit has produced a series of positive results for the City of Ekurhuleni. Among others, it has been able to achieve the following achievements:
• The City of Ekurhuleni employed a suitably qualified City Manager and Group Chief Financial Officer, who is also a certified Chartered Accountant;
• The City of Ekurhuleni has committed ZERO irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure for the past three consecutive years;
• The City of Ekurhuleni received three unqualified audit opinions from the AG over the past three straight years;
• The City of Ekurhuleni has maintained compliance with the mSCOA for the past three years; and
• The City of Ekurhuleni has successfully introduced an Integrity Management Framework to reduce fraud and corruption in the City.
“I am delighted that our vision of receiving a clean audit opinion from the AG has finally come to fruition. As we begin to enter a post-Covid-19 era, there is no time when it has become more important for government institutions to provide ethical and honest governance over state funds. Every cent of the taxpayer’s hard-earned money must go towards revitalising our local economy and providing the necessary relief and public services for households to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Executive Mayor Mzwandile Masina.
“As our term of office comes to an end as the fifth administration of the City of Ekurhuleni, this clean audit outcome must stand as a benchmark for the incoming administration. With the systems we have introduced in the institution, the focus must turn to building a resilient city that can leverage the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution and withstand the shocks brought forward by potential future global pandemics, uncertain global polity and climate change.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the political and administrative leadership of the city, our coalition partners and council for their commitment to clean governance.”
The African National Congress-led coalition in the City of Ekurhuleni, under the leadership of Masina, has maintained a politically stable government since the beginning of the fifth administration’s term in late 2016.
Ekurhuleni: rebuilding a people-centred post-Covid economy
A solid post-Covid-19 Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan formed the backbone of Executive Mayor Cllr Mzwandile Masina’s 2021 State of the City Address (SOCA), anchored on the City’s 10-point plan.
The virtual sitting was live streamed from Germiston Council Chamber, OR Tambo Government Precinct, on 24 March, under the theme of “Ushering in an era of renewed commitment and unity towards rebuilding a people centred post-Covid economy”.
“The devastation of Covid-19 has been felt not only in our homes, but also in our national economy. Municipalities, including our own, have suffered the most severe losses in revenue due to loss of income by residents and business,” said Masina as he delivered his last address for this term of office.
“It has become urgent that the government at all levels begins to reconstruct our economy. Our onslaught in this battle must be a solid post-Covid-19 economic reconstruction and recovery plan anchored on our 10-point plan,” emphasised the first citizen.
This will include the following:
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AEROTROPOLIS MASTER PLAN
The 30-year Aerotropolis Master Plan to drive sustainable socioeconomic development and an economic infrastructure development programme has been approved and is a partnership with other spheres of government, state-owned companies, private business and social partners.
The plan is based on building an airport city with economically resilient regions segmented into the likes of logistics corridors, research and development regions, manufacturing regions and agricultural regions. Key developments already underway are Riverfields Development Project, Plumbago Industrial Park Development Project, Green Reef Mega Project as well as OR Tambo Special Development Zone, Denel Kempton Park campus, IRPTN, Tambo Springs Inland Port and Gibela Rail Manufacturing plant.
ACCELERATION OF THE IDZ/SEZ PROGRAMME
A Gauteng Industrial Development Zone is meant to develop land around the airport to stimulate economic development on 7.5ha of land. The focus is on sectors such as food processing, jewellery, diamond beneficiation and aerospace. Already, R1.5-billion worth of investment has been obtained and an anticipated 7 000 new jobs are to be created.
LAND AVAILABILITY FOR STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT
Policies and strategies placed over the term of office to guide agricultural development programmes have resulted in the leasing of Council-owned land to support emerging and established farmers. Eleven bidders have been approved as part of the agricultural support.
Development has also been unlocked through an additional 11 SUDs, through the rapid release of 40 strategic land parcels and PPPs.
SMME SUPPORT THROUGH PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
Enterprise development promotes and supports programmes for various categories and sectors of SMMEs, including:
Mentorship – such as furniture manufacturing, protective clothing, automotive services, contractor development,
Incubation – since 2016, a total of 262 businesses participated in the incubation programme that saw 105 participants graduate in contractor development, furniture manufacturing, protective clothing, business plan development and general coaching mentorship,
Tender advice centre – in 2017/18 saw 162 people trained.
MASSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
SUDs implementation to unlock R300-billion in investment – so far R80-billion is unlocked
SEZ programme facilitated to unlock R7-billion
Approval and implementation of Ekurhuleni Investment and Development Facilitation Framework and Matrix as a mechanism to fast-track strategic investments
Rand value of investments attracted over the past five years include Prasa Gibela, Teraco Data Centre, ACSA expansion programme, S&J Industrial Investment, Riverfields Investment along R21, industrial/manufacturing investment such as GZI can manufacturing and Komatsu.
SKILLS, CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT AND INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Employment prospects of the youth improved, in partnership with the private sector, implemented through 14 local youth offices that provided business training, funding application and referrals to support programmes. Over 6 332 youth were appointed to work readiness programmes and internships.
Bursary funding increased from R10-million to R100-million in 2017 and the scheme has benefited almost 9 000 Ekurhuleni residents; over R470-million was spent on developing local skills base.
INFRASTRUCTURE, BUILT PROGRAMME AND SERVICE DELIVERY
At the onset of this term of office the “pro-poor’ agenda was introduced as the guiding philosophy. With this came the Siyaqhuba Mayoral Outreach programme, adopted to ensure service delivery issues are rapidly responded to.
16 mega projects implemented, including Esselen Park, Tembisa Ext 25, Leeuwpoort, John Dube Village, Van Dyk Park, Palm Ridge Ext 10.
delivered 42 773 housing units and 26 543 services stands.
bulk infrastructure installed will provide 210 000 housing units.
electrification of 40 informal settlements
chemical toilets increased from 1:10 to 1:5
reblocked 46 settlements
39 townships regularised and 33 605 title deeds distributed.