George Municipality has for a second year achieved the challenge of a clean audit report from the Auditor General (AG) for the financial year ending 30 June 2013 – one of allegedly only nine municipalities in the Western Cape to do so. Executive Mayor Charles Standers announced the good news at the final Council meeting for the year on 2nd December 2013 during his Mayoral address.
Mayor Standers indicated his pride in this achievement which is generally understood to be an even bigger challenge than the first time around – George Municipality having achieved a clean audit in 2011/12. “ This is surely an outstanding achievement and an indication of the fiscal discipline of our municipality.”
The Auditor- General in his letter to the Municipal Manager, Trevor Botha expressed the opinion that “the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the George Municipality as at 30 June 2013 and its financial performance, cash flows and comparison between actual and budgeted amounts for the year then ended, in accordance with SA Standards of Generally Recognized Accounting Practice (GRAP) and the requirements of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and Division of Revenue Act (DoRA).”
Keith Jordaan, Chief Financial Officer explained that the Auditor-General’s responsibility is to express an opinion on the financial statements based on the audit and which audit is conducted in accordance with legislation and International Standards on Auditing. Those standards require compliance with ethical requirements whereby the audit must be planned and performed to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free from material misstatement.
The role of the accounting officer of a Municipality is to prepare and present the financial statements as determined by legislation. The accounting officer must also ensure that proper internal controls are in place to enable the preparation of statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error. Mr Jordaan extended his gratitude towards his staff for their contribution in working so hard towards making George Municipality the best it can be.
Councillor Leon Van Wyk, Portfolio Councillor for the Directorate Financial Services stated that the achievement of a clean audit for the second time reflects the positive attitude and commitment of the Finance team and that of all the Directorates to maintain high standards. The audit process does not only cover the financial statements but also reports on predetermined objectives and the accuracy, valid and completeness of performance information. Thirdly, there is the audit of compliance with the legislation applicable for municipalities. The consistent achievement of a clean audit will enable George to focus on longer-term financial sustainability. This mindset will drive maintenance of infrastructure which in turn improves the attractiveness of George as an investment destination to ensure economic growth and job creation. We want to improve opportunities for and the future prospects of our inhabitants as the leading secondary city in the country”, said Councillor Van Wyk.
Municipal Manager, Trevor Botha agreed with these sentiments and said: “The good audit outcome is a reflection of team work from all the officials in the municipality and an indication of all the hard work and tremendous effort from staff to make George Municipality work. The fact that political stability is maintained and exemplary political leadership is the order of the day, contributes to the conditions necessary to achieve such clean audit. We are thankful to all who contributes to the well functioning of the municipality and we are hopeful that this trend of dedication and commitment towards maintaining our clean audit status will persist and continuously encourage us to perform even better.