KZN COGTA cracks the whip on municipal procurement | Infrastructure news

The excessive use of “emergency deviation” from the standard procurement regulations by municipalities was highlighted at the two-day municipal finance mini-conference hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

Out of 61 KwaZulu-Natal municipalities, 13 recorded procurement of goods and services during the 2012/13 financial year under the Municipal Supply Chain Management Regulation No. 36, known as emergency deviation from the normal rules where multiple quotations are required above a certain amount.

One local municipality recorded 88 deviations, the highest number of emergency deviations from the Municipal Supply Chain Management Regulation No. 36, while and another municipality recorded the highest monetary volume of such transactions to the tune of R 43 029 440.

Emergency deviations have previously been targeted by the Provincial Treasury in respect of government departments and now it is COGTA’s turn to ensure that this provision is not abused at municipal level to incur what the Auditor-General would label as irregular expenditure,” explained KZN MEC for COGTA Nomusa Dube-Ncube.


Emergency deviations are legal

He said it is important to note that emergency deviations from the normal procurement procedures are acceptable and legal provided they are justified by a genuine emergency or unavailability of required goods and services from multiple providers.

The use of emergency deviations from the normal procurement regulations does not constitute any maladministration, fraud or corruption, but MEC Dube-Ncube consistently cautioned municipalities to make less use of this provision and reserve this tool only for use under critical circumstances.


Investigations into emergency deviations

KZN COGTA, in partnership with the office of the Auditor-General, will continue to exercise strong oversight over the application of these deviations and ensure that their application is limited to justifiable circumstances. It will investigate emergency deviations from the normal procurement rules by municipalities and flag any irregularities it finds in this regard in the municipal audit outcomes.

“Our role as COGTA is to ensure that all audit queries raised by the Auditor-General are responded to by municipalities and appropriate action to rectify irregularities is taken by municipal councils. Now, however, we have gone one step further to put pressure on municipal Chief Financial Officers to use emergency deviations strictly in line with the regulation,” said Dube-Ncube.

KZN COGTA is maximising its efforts to enable all municipalities to achieve clean audits by providing hands-on support to their management as well as their own oversight bodies such as the municipal Audit Committees and the Municipal Public Accounts Committees.

“Good financial governance remains our top priority. Operation Clean Audit is now a standard programme of action and a way of life for our municipalities as we move away from the ideology of targetism. We are determined to make a lasting impact on service delivery through improved municipal audits,” said Dube-Ncube.

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