CAs call for municipality assistance

PPS survey

Gerhard Joubert, head of group marketing and stakeholder relations at PPS.
Gerhard Joubert (LR) Feb 2013.jpg

Chartered accountants across the country strongly believe that more should be done to assist the country’s struggling municipalities with their finances, according to a new survey conducted by PPS.

The survey of more than 400 members of Chartered Accountants South Africa or  CAs(SA) revealed that 80% of respondents believe industry bodies should provide more support to municipalities to assist them in improving their financial position.

According to Gerhard Joubert, head of group marketing and stakeholder relations at PPS, the financial services provider focused on graduate professionals, there has been widespread concern about the state of finances at the country’s municipalities.

“The South African Local Government Association (Salga) recently called for municipal heads to improve their financial management practices, advising that early warning systems must be urgently developed and implemented so that any weaknesses can be corrected timeously,” says Joubert.

This followed a decision by National Treasury to withhold funds from a number of provinces while their financial situation was being addressed.

“Concern over the state of municipal finances is unsurprising given that Auditor-general Terence Nombembe gave only three municipalities clean audits in his recent local government audit.

"With the number of civil protests that continue to take place on a regular basis over service delivery and concerns about deteriorating infrastructure, it is critical that whatever measures and support can be given to municipalities to assist them in this regard is pursued with urgency,” says Joubert.

Willi Coates the head of marketing at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) said: “Saica has over the last few years facilitated a project to assist municipalities to deliver clean audits.

"Using the skills of some its members Saica has focused on capacitating municipal financial management skills at municipal level as well as training unemployed graduates and placing them with municipalities in order to make a positive contribution to address our members concerns in this regard.”

Further results from the survey revealed that CAs(SA) are concerned about the quality of mathematics education in the country, with regards to how this may impact on their profession.

Confidence that the current educational system provides sufficient mathematics education to support the future production of CAs(SA) was just 51%.

Despite this, CAs(SA) do remain confident about the quality of training within their profession, with 79% of respondents saying current training standards of chartered accountants is sufficient.

Other results also indicate that CAs(SA) remain positive about their profession, with an 85% confidence level about the future of their profession over the next five years, with 80% of respondents also noting that they would encourage their children to enter their profession.

“The survey revealed some very positive results among CAs(SA), particularly with regards to their own profession but we do note the concern over municipal finances.

"We would encourage Government to consider engaging with CAs(SA) as well as the appropriate industry bodies as to how the private sector can provide urgent assistance to improve the financial standing of municipalities,” concludes Joubert.

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