The Chair of the Finance and Procurement Committee, Cllr Fawzia Peer, officially welcomed more than 1700 delegates to the 84th Institute of Municipal Financial Officers (IMFO) Annual Conference hosted by eThekwini Municipality, Standard Bank and PricewaterHouseCoopers. The Conference which opened this morning till the 02 October is built around the theme of Sustainable and Compliant Governance- 2014 and beyond! Prominent speakers Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela, Auditor General Kimi Makwetu and KZN MEC Nomusa Dube will address the delegates during the conference.

IMFO provides a platform for stakeholders to exchange ideas knowledge, best practices and products for service excellence and maximum financial performance. IMFO aims to provide within the statutory framework, effective financial accounting advice, as well as settling and maintaining high financial standards and controls in the area of Local Government.

Cllr Peer, in her welcome address stated that in terms of local government and the public sector, tremendous progress has been made. Over 3.1 million houses have been built, more than 6 million new households have gained access to clean water and over 5 million households have been connected to electricity.

She said “As we enter the 20th year of our democracy next year, I would like you to do some hand-holding and ensure full compliance. A key issue in this regard is the goal to achieve clean audits by 2014. Due attention needs to be given to this issue. We should not be debating the issue of service delivery versus compliance. We should be achieving both.

Over the past two years there has been a huge focus on supply chain management in municipalities, in particular the R14 billion in irregular expenditure incurred across the country. Whilst we can defend this and argue that it relates mainly to procedural issues, it is still an issue of non-compliance. It is a concern. In this regard, we require appropriate SCM systems, skilled staff, training, and zero tolerance towards non-compliance and fraud & corruption. Appropriate sanctions should be instituted against staff that repeatedly do not comply. They must face disciplinary action otherwise the expenditure should not be regularised.
Apart from the SCM regulations, there are several other areas of compliance in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and the Municipal Systems Act.

We also cannot ignore the issue of sustainable local government. Due attention must be given to revenue management, expenditure, provision of services, and asset management in terms of rehabilitation and replacement costs. Optimisation of revenue collection is a key issue. In addition, we need to grow the rates base by promoting growth and attracting new businesses. As regards expenditure, whilst we have pressing demands, we need to ensure a balance between social, economic and rehabilitative expenditure. Prioritisation of expenditure in the longer-term is also important to enable us to deliver on our promises to our people. Furthermore, we must ensure that our tariffs are affordable to enable our communities to pay.”
The Institute of Municipal Finance Officers (IMFO) together with the eThekwini Municipality will host the IMFO Cocktail Gala Evening on Tuesday 01 October 2013, where the Honourable Minster Lechesa Tshenoli will award the nine(9) municipalities with a IMFO Clean Audit Award.

Each year IMFO acknowledges the Mayor, Municipal Manager and Chief Finance Officer of the municipality, whom the Auditor General announces to have clean audit, by awarding them with an IMFO Clean Audit Award. This prestigious Awards Evening is one annual event which the institute pays tribute and gives praise to its CFO members who continue to raise the professional standard of municipal finance officials.

The Cocktail Gala and Awards Evening will take place Durban City Hall on the second day of the conference.
Date: Tuesday, 01 October 2013
Time: 18:00 – 22:00
Venue: Durban City Hall

Members of the media are invited to attend the Cocktail Gala Evening and also attend the opening of the conference where Keynote Address will be presented by Honourable Minister Colins Chabane, Minister in the Presidency.