Anti-corruption watchdogs for municipalities The South African Local Government Association (Salga) is setting up public accounts committees in all municipalities to boost financial management and accountability at a local level. This follows the latest Auditor-General report, which revealed only seven municipalities achieved clean audits in the past financial year, with 127 receiving an unqualified audit. Such findings raised concerns about the financial viability of a number of municipalities and shone the light on corruption in supply-chain management and weak accountability systems. According to Salga CEO Xolile George, the new committees will operate like parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts, which holds law-makers in parliament and other legislatures accountable for how they use public funds. Released: Durban metro report A forensic investigation report on corruption, fraud and maladministration in the eThekwini municipality has called for urgent steps to be taken to recover the lost funds and disciplinary action against high-ranking officials. According to the Auditor-General, eThekwini incurred R532-million in irregular expenditure and a host of supply chain management contraventions in the municipal year ending June 2010. The report has fingered, among others, former municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe and former mayor Obed Mlaba. Commissioned in March 2011, the report was released this week by Cooperative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube. It was tabled and adopted during a full council meeting at the city hall. Dube has given the municipal leadership 21 days to respond to the report. Eskom to undergo corruption probe The presidency has given the go-ahead for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate corruption, fraud and maladministration within Eskom. This comes at the parastatal’s request. Focus areas of the probe will include coal procurement and transport services, as well as undisclosed interests held in companies doing business with Eskom. Investigators, from the SIU and Eskom's in-house forensic team, will refer any criminality uncovered to the National Prosecuting Authority and the police. Limpopo graft investigation kicks off The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) will begin sifting through Limpopo’s financial affairs following Cabinet’s decision late last year to bring five of its 11 departments under administration. The province has been declared bankrupt amid evidence of maladministration and abuse of public funds. The investigation has been commissioned by national treasury and is expected to overlap with probes already under way into the financial affairs of suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and Premier Cassel Mathale. The SIU has not been given a deadline to complete the investigation. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said: "There certainly will be consequences if there is wrongdoing, including putting people through the necessary disciplinary processes or criminal processes". Excerpt The South African Local Government Association (Salga) is setting up public accounts committees in all municipalities to boost financial management and accountability at a local level.