Local authorities are failing to generate their own sources of income and also keep poor records of their assets, the Auditor General has found.
Writing in her latest report, which was tabled before Parliament last week, Pulane Letebele found that rates arrears owed to councils had risen to P627.8 million in the 2021-22 financial year, from P548.1 million in 2020-21 and P495.2 million in 2019/20.
Rates are the key source of revenue councils can raise for themselves, as government has announced that it intends to cut its subventions for local authorities, particularly those near urban areas. Letebele also found that rural councils were equally failing to following up on debts owed, with these arrears mounting into the hundreds of millions over the years.
Land boards were also collecting low on lease rentals, which is their main revenue stream making them dependent on government grants to increase every financial year, Letebele said. The Auditor General also noted that local authorities had major challenges with recording of such as land and buildings.
She said most local authorities could not produce an asset register for all properties, although this was an official requirement.