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2008-01-30: Clean audit report proof of well-managed Johannesburg

The City of Johannesburg has received an unqualified audit report from the Auditor General – the first such "clean audit" in 15 years.

Making the announcement Clr Amos Masondo, the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, described the clean audit as "a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to ensure clean and accountable governance in the City. This is an important achievement as we strive to meet the highest possible standards aimed at ensuring sound financial management and sustainability."

Mr Masondo said the report is "a remarkable achievement" given the wide range of services that are delivered to the people of Johannesburg and the complex challenges attached to financial controls and management.

Johannesburg is the only City in the country that has consolidated the accounts of its core administration with that of the municipal owned entities such as Joburg Water, City Power and Pikitup. The implication of this is that the City has to meet higher accounting standards.

In recent years the city has received qualified audit opinions with disclaimers that mostly referred to the overall control environment and the completeness of fixed assets.

In February 2004 the City launched Operation Clean Audit Report (OPCAR) with a number of important focus areas:

Building a strong financial control environment;
Creating a comprehensive asset register; and
Confirming the completeness of revenue.
A project team was also formed in 2006 to undertake a diagnostic analysis of the City's systems and processes in its totality. Out of this a comprehensive plan was put in place to address areas of concern highlighted by the Auditor General. The city also established the Johannesburg Risk and Audit Services (JRAS) with dedicated resources to identify high-risk areas such as revenue and procurement as well as an independent Group Auditing Committee consisting of private sector professionals.

Mayor Masondo said the clean audit is the latest in a series of milestones and accolades received by Johannesburg from independent sources. Johannesburg received the 2007 Vuna Awards for the best governed Metro in South Africa; MasterCard Worldwide named it as among the Top-50 Centres of Commerce in a global survey, and Fitch Ratings upgraded the city's long-term ratings to A+ status.

He said the people of Johannesburg can be assured that the financial management of the City is in good hands and that its finances and assets are managed in a responsible and prudent manner.

This City views the achievement of a clean audit as both a milestone and a building block for the future. We have set ourselves a vision to build Johannesburg into a World Class African City and this audit takes us closer to this goal.