Operation Clean Audit

ADDRESS BY PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN CAPE, MS HAZEL JENKINS AT THE OCCASSION OF THE OPERATION CLEAN AUDIT 2014 LAUNCH, 01 OCTOBER 2009

Programme Director

Members of the Executive Council

Members of the Provincial Legislature

All Mayors

Councillors

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great honour for me to be part of this groundbreaking occasion which marks the Launch of Operation Clean Audit 2014 whose sole aim is to clean up Governance, overhaul poor financial systems and enhance service delivery at both Local and Provincial Government level.

We are profoundly encouraged by the launching of a project that must make sweeping and revolutionary changes in the way how Municipalities and Government Departments conduct their Financial Affairs in addressing the needs and aspirations of our people.

We are delighted at the prospect that this project is geared to promote Good Governance, strengthening financial management to achieve operational efficiency and promote accountability in government.

This project will also hold Mayors, Councillors and Senior Managers accountable to deliver on the mandate that they have been given by the electorate. Leaders must step to the fore and provide leadership that is required to remove the scourge of poverty and underdevelopment from our province. All role players must be encouraged to play their active part in building a democratic developmental state that is more accountable to the people we serve. The time for finger-pointing is over, it is time to deliver or else you are out.

Tonight all stakeholders will be signing a pledge committing themselves to actively participate in this Operation Clean Audit 2014 Campaign. The signing of this pledge is to demonstrate our seriousness and commitment to implement this mandate.

Programme Director, the Launch of the Project follows a comprehensive and inclusive process with all spheres of Government and other key stakeholders in a strategic partnership aimed at rooting out all forms of corruption, mismanagement where they exist and supporting struggling municipalities towards the achievement of this target.

The Launch of this project confirmed our determination to give effect to the clean and responsive Government as encapsulated in our Manifesto to the people.

This project instructs all municipalities to adopt improved financial controls and management systems to meet higher and professional accounting standards.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the launch of this programme could not have come at a better time. The Programme comes at a time when our Departments and Municipalities face s very serious audit challenges and are to a large extent not functioning effectively.

As already indicated by the MEC for Cooperative Governance Mr. Kenny Mmoiemang, the Auditor-General’s report for 2006/07 financial year, painted a very grim picture about the number of municipalities that received unqualified audit opinions.

The main findings were about poor internal controls, poor quality of financial statements and non-compliance with Supply Chain Management. This worse state of Affairs in the Municipalities called on Government to take drastic action to change the face of Local Government.

The fact that only two municipalities obtained clean audit reports in the previous financial year, namely Francis Baard District Municipality and Karee berg Municipality is an embarrassment to the province.

We wish to applaud these two municipalities for their significant milestone achievement. We hope that all other municipalities can emulate their exemplary role.

The Minister of Co-operative Governance Mr. Shicelo Shiceka said at the National Launch that Operation Clean Audit Programme 2014 is guided by the vision that we want to make sure that by 2014, all the 283 municipalities and 9 provincial government departments in South Africa achieve clean audits on their Annual Financial Statements and that they further maintain systems for sustaining quality financial statements and management information.

The Minister further indicated that the launch signified the beginning of the end as far as disclaimers; adverse opinions and qualified audits are concerned for municipalities and provincial government departments. The goal is that by 2011, no municipality or provincial government department will have a disclaimer or an adverse audit opinion; and by 2014 none should have those or a qualified audit.

Ladies and Gentlemen, previously there were no proper systems in place to support municipalities and Provincial Departments. This anomalous situation resulted into service delivery, Good Governance and financial management being adversely affected.

According to the National Guidelines, as we implement the Operation Clean Audit 2014 programme the National Timeframes are as follows for all Municipalities and Departments, to implement without fail, I repeat:

o Between 2010 and 2011, no municipality and provincial departments will receive Adverse and Disclaimer Audit opinions.
o At least 60% of provincial departments and the 283 municipalities must achieve unqualified audit opinion by 2012.
o By 2013, there must be an increase to 75% both in municipalities and provincial departments that achieve unqualified audits.
o By 2014, we must have 100% of ‘clean audits’, both at provincial departments and all municipalities

We have entered an era of renewed hope, an era of effective service delivery, a period in which all our people will truly benefit from the services that government provides.

We must live up to the principles of Batho Pele”people first” in whatever we do to ensure that all have access to much needed services.

The task ahead of us is not an easy one. The people of the Northern Cape look up to us to be the true and efficient custodians of their resources. Their hopes and aspirations of a better Northern Cape whose finances are well managed rests on our shoulders.

We dare not disappoint them. Working together, we can transform municipalities into effective Agents of Change that can execute their responsibilities efficiently and effectively manner.

I thank you

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