The Eastern Cape provincial Auditor-General (AG), Mr Singwa Ngqwala made a powerful presentation yesterday at the Provincial Summit on Public Participation and Petitions, taking place in Fish River Sun. The 3-day Summit hosted by the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature to discuss mechanisms for effective public participation is intended to set the tone in intensifying public engagement on matters of governance.
Given its continued interest in the area of public participation, the Legislature has committed itself to embrace a people centred development approach. With this approach, public participation is fundamental in the Legislature’s effort to be of service to the people of the province.
In his presentation, the AG focused on audit outcomes of provincial government and emphasised on clean administration. Mr Ngqwala’s presentation covered a range of critical issues, which included the role of Auditor-General of South Africa, issues raised by AG in audit reports, the establishment of Municipal Public Accounts Committee, Audit Committees, and the Internal Audit.
He further emphasised on the need to deal with real root causes if municipalities want to bring a final breakthrough in outcomes and performance. The AG cited the importance of harmony in relations between Council, Speaker, Mayor and the Municipal Manager, Local Government and Traditional Affairs and Treasury. Speakers are required by law to address issues raised by AG. I therefore advise Speakers to challenge their municipalities in this regard in ensuring that issues raised by AG are attended to, said Ngqwala.
The Speakers Forum agreed that there is a need to strengthen Municipal Public Accounts Committee to focus on in year reporting. The Forum also resolved that the relationship between the Municipal Public Accounts Committee and the Audit Committee should also be strengthened for improved audit outcomes.
The Honourable Speaker of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Fikile Xasa, said Speakers must always be mindful that they are representing people, and should always ask themselves on whether they are doing this responsibility well.