Fix local government by linking performance to pay
Councillors and officials need to be encouraged to be honest and efficient, so that clean-run municipalities are also the best-paying ones
The 2018/2019 auditor-general’s report on local government is a sorry tale of regression, a deterioration of accountability and a lapse in good governance. Municipalities receiving unqualified audits declined from 147 in 2016/2017 to 123 in 2017/2018 and 111 in 2018/2019.
However, the glass is half full. There are pockets of excellence. Of 229 municipalities that had finalised audits, about half (111) received unqualified audits, of which 20 received clean audits. These pockets must be used to draw lessons to turn the tide...