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The Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality Received A Clean Audit For The First Time

In the Photo:  Executive Mayor, Alderman Chris Macpherson, Walter Hendricks (Municipal Manager), Cllr Johan Allers (Speaker)

Oudtshoorn, 06 December 2023 – The Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality is celebrating a significant achievement as it received a clean audit for the financial year 2022/2023 for the first time in two decades. This remarkable accomplishment reflects the municipality’s dedication to financial transparency and responsible governance. During a press conference on Friday, 01 December 2023, the Executive Mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Alderman Chris Macpherson, Cllr Johan Allers (Speaker), Walter Hendricks (Municipal Manager), Gerald De Jager (CFO), and Sophia Swart (Senior Manager: Finance), broke the great news to the local media.

The municipality has demonstrated substantial improvement, transitioning from a previous audit outcome categorized as “unqualified with findings” to a pristine “unqualified without findings” audit outcome. This shift signifies a commendable milestone in the municipality’s commitment to accountability and effective financial management.

In simpler terms, an “unqualified with findings” audit outcome indicates that while the financial statements are accurate, there are specific issues or discrepancies noted during the audit process. On the other hand, achieving an “unqualified without findings” audit outcome signifies a flawless assessment, indicating that the financial statements are not only accurate but also free from any material misstatements or concerns.

When auditing a municipality, the Auditor General of South Africa, mandated by law to audit and report on government spending, thoroughly examines the municipality’s financial statements and all matters relevant to financial management. This includes scrutinizing expenses related to various projects and ensuring that allocated funds are used for their intended purposes. The Auditor General also conducts on-site checks to verify the completion of projects, ensuring that taxpayer money is spent appropriately and in line with government allocations.  They went further this time and had conversations with residents on service delivery issues.

The Executive Mayor Macpherson expressed his gratitude towards the senior management, all dedicated officials as well as councillors who tirelessly contributed throughout the year to make this achievement possible. “This is truly a unique opportunity to attain a clean audit and to make this milestone a reality.”

A clean audit provides several benefits to a municipality:

  1. Financial Credibility: A spotless audit raises the municipality’s financial standing. It sends a message to all parties involved—taxpayers, investors, and creditors—that the municipality handles its money sensibly and openly.
  2. Public Trust: Achieving a clean audit builds and reinforces public trust. When residents and businesses see that the municipality is effectively managing funds, it builds trust in the municipality’s capacity to deliver necessary services and make wise financial decisions.
  3. Access to Funding: Municipalities with clean audits may find it easier to access funding from external sources. Lenders, grant providers, and other financial institutions often consider a clean audit as an indicator of financial stability and responsible governance when making decisions about extending credit or grants.
  4. Attracting Investment: A clean audit can attract private investment to the municipality. Investors are more likely to consider locations with a strong financial management record, as it reduces the perceived risks associated with potential economic and financial challenges.
  5. Compliance with Regulations: A clean audit ensures that the municipality complies with financial regulations and standards. This helps avoid legal issues, penalties, or sanctions that could arise from non-compliance.
  6. Improved Operational Efficiency: The process of achieving and maintaining a clean audit often involves improving financial and operational processes. This can lead to increased efficiency in resource allocation, better project management, and overall improved governance.

The municipality still has financial records for the last 20 years and could not find any unqualified audit opinion without findings during the mentioned periods. A clean audit is not just a technical accomplishment; it has far-reaching implications for the financial, operational, and reputational aspects of a municipality, ultimately contributing to its sustainable development and success. Securing a clean audit highlights the municipality’s unwavering dedication to responsible financial leadership as well as political stability.