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6 December 2021 Media Release: Garden Route DM celebrates Clean Audit and commits to retain it

Media Release: Garden Route DM celebrates Clean Audit and commits to retain it

For Immediate Release
6 December 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is pleased to announce that it has achieved a clean audit outcome for the 2020/2021 financial year. A clean audit is an unqualified audit opinion, with no findings, issued by the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) during their audit on financial statements, annual performance report and compliance to legislation.

This outstanding achievement confirms that the GRDM spent the public funds according to the applicable laws, regulations and policies.

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Nine (9) months ago, GRDM reported that it had missed a clean audit because of one finding. However, the municipality gradually addressed all the issues that the AGSA raised in the past while ensuring its financial management ethos at all levels of the organisation were enhanced. “We have instilled a culture of sound financial management, prudent financial choices, efficiency and accountability,” said Monde Stratu, Municipal Manager.  “We will do our very best to retain a clean audit for years to come and not to drop our standards,” he said.

Re-elected GRDM Executive Mayor Alderman Memory Booysen says that although South Africa faces a challenging economic situation, those in the Garden Route and investors can be assured that the Municipality remains committed to good governance.

“We will continue to spend public money to the best of our ability.”

Booysen hopes that this achievement will inspire other municipalities in the Garden Route to do better and improve governance. Mayor Booysen also made particular reference to Dr Adele Potgieter, Independent Member and Chairperson of the Audit and Performance Audit Committee (APAC) and her team for the oversight they provided on the Municipality’s financial reporting process. Other members of APAC at GRDM include Advocate Derick Block, Geoff Stenekamp and Suren Maharaj.

Also, Ald. Booysen extended his appreciation to Cllr Clodia Lichaba, Chairperson: Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) and her fellow Councillors who exercised oversight over the executive functionaries of the council to ensure good governance in the institution.

Jan-Willem De Jager, Chief Financial Officer and Thembani Loliwe, Strategic Manager, also played a pivotal role in ensuring that the GRDM achieved a clean audit status. They worked hand in hand to ensure the municipality’s Operational Clean Audit Report (OPCAR) was implemented in response to the AGSA Management Reports from the previous financial years. “Various controls had to be put in place to ensure that the AG did not find similar issues as last year,” said Loliwe. “To mention just one example of control improvement, during the 2017/18 financial year, procurement through the supply chain deviation process was valued at more than R23 000 000 and in 2020/21 financial year that amount has reduced to less than R2 000 000, which is a result of thorough control interventions”  added Loliwe.

“During their audit, the AGSA focused on bulk infrastructure, supply chain management, and financial statements.”

De Jager specifically referenced the strides the GRDM made with procurement. “This year, we had no findings on procurement.”

The CFO has also shared his thank yous to officials who engaged with the AG because it was done in a respectful manner. The AGSA has been victimised for years in other parts of the country, where they often receive death threats, get offered bribes and are victims of intimidation.

GRDM remains committed to ensuring that it has all preventative controls in place and good governance, as organisational culture, continues for years to come. The audit outcome is, therefore, is a result of a concerted effort by all officials to ensure that good governance and sound financial management remain at the heart of what we do at the Municipality,” said Monde Stratu.