Limpopo is finally in good financial health, says ANC deputy provincial secretary Basikopo Makamu, who doubles up as MEC for cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs.
Makamu, whose department oversees the day-to-day running of 22 local and five district municipalities, was speaking during an exclusive interview with The Citizen at his parliamentary house in Polokwane a few days after he awarded trophies to those municipalities which achieved good audit outcomes in 2020-21.
The pats on the back came after a decade of poor financial management caused by the advent of the VBS Mutual Bank scandal and the imposition of Section 139 (1) (b) of the constitution.
Ten years ago, when Limpopo was in serious financial disarray, an unqualified audit opinion or clean audit was foreign there.
“Now, perseverance, hard work and commitment have begun to yield positive results for the province – proof of which is in latest audit outcome from the auditor-general (AG),” he said on Monday.
According to Makamu, also known as “The Future” in Limpopo politics, of the 27 municipalities, nine improved from a qualified audit outcome to unqualified and six retain unqualified status.
Ten municipalities were given qualified audit opinions, one a clean audit and one adverse, he said.
He added the province was now in much better financial health than back in 2011-12.
The municipalities were able to spend 100% of their municipal infrastructure grants and avoided returning money to the National Treasury.
This, he said, was a sign it was able to deliver services to the people and was thriving. Total spending also meant the province was now in better control of its finances than five years ago, when some municipalities were investing in VBS.
“We are also very proud that 10 years after [premier Stan] Mathabatha took over the running of the province, he put the right measures in place, which saw Limpopo making a miracleproducing five departments with clean audit outcome from the AG.
“Our secret was to identify loopholes and work on them.
“We applied consequence management, avoided cadre deployment and placed qualified personnel in strategic managerial positions.
“We fought corruption from its roots and did away with nepotism. That is why Limpopo is now stable.
“Now we are on the way to deal decisively with Mogalakwena. That is one council which has a lot of problems but, given time, it will soon be spoken about in the same breath as Capricorn district municipality, which is swimming in a pool of good governance,” he said.
“Dedication, hard work and commitment is our secret.
“That is why today we are declaring Limpopo a disclaimer-free province,” said Makamu.