Allegations against the municipality ‘baseless’

Nkomazi Local Municipality (NLM) spokesman, Mr Cyril Ripinga, NLM Acting Chief Financial Officer Mr Sipho Mathaba, and NLM mayor's personal assistant Mr Ben Monepya.

MALALANE – This follows the announcement made by NLM’s spokesman, Mr Cyril Ripinga, that it achieved an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor General (AG) for the 2014/15 financial year.

Ripinga described all the allegations which had been levelled against the municipality as baseless.

“People will always make noise saying the municipality is doing very bad, and we never responded to those allegations, because some of those things are just baseless. So what we want to do now is to set the record straight, because we have got proof from the AG. And this is not something that comes from the sky and just falls. We have heard a number of rumours and we are not worried about that. People will always fabricate stories, people will come and say there has been mismanagement without any proof or verifying facts,” he said.

Ripinga added that despite the improvement which had been achieved by the municipality, even without the appointment of a permanent CFO, there was still room for more.

“We are quite excited as a municipality about this achievement. Yes, there was still that room for improvement, there is still a lot to be done to ensure that there is service delivery within the communities. But beyond that, the community of Nkomazi must rest assured in the knowledge that their monies are safe in the hands of the municipality, and this has been justified by the report from the AG.”

According to Mr Sipho Mathaba, who has been the acting CFO since the resignation of the previous one, it has been their hands-on approach which has brought them where they are now. “What has helped us this year was being hands-on during the audit, attending the AG steering committee, responding in time to documents required by the AG, responding there and then to their quires. And what also helped us was the unity, everybody in the office of the municipal manager, everybody relocated their offices to the finance boardroom, so that we can respond to any query that comes in, and we used to stay in the boardroom until late at night, going into the filling room to look for documents wanted by the AG,” said Mathaba.

He added that their internal controls were very effective, and they made sure that they had proper controls that could detect if there was anything that could go wrong, and any discrepancies.

“We got an unqualified audit with few matters to be addressed, there was nowhere where it said we had borrowed money from Mr Faleem Patel,” said Mathaba.

Ripinga added that this has been a myth they have been hearing about for some time now.

“I don’t know where it comes from, we never borrowed money from Patel. And the municipality will never borrow money from any individual, we have also heard that others are saying the municipality is bankrupt and is about to be closed and so forth. We still don’t know where that comes from.”

Mathaba added that NLM didn’t even have any loans, or overdrafts to its name.

“We must just dispel that myth that the municipality is going to be closed down and employees are not going to be paid. Our financial system is very healthy in the municipality.” Ripinga concluded by saying that anyone with information proving mismanagement of municipal funds, should report this to the SAPS.

“If there is a person who has any proof that there is money missing in the municipality, let that person go to the police and report that matter, because we are tired of hearing such rumours. Let whoever has any evidence take it to the SAPS.”

Daluxolo Sibiya

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