Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, expressed at the State of the Province Address (Sopa) that her office will cooperate and work closely with law enforcement to root out corruption. This comes after the Auditor-General announced that not one municipality in the province has received a clean audit.
“Just like the Auditor-General, we are concerned with the state of our municipalities. It can never be right that no municipality in the Free State receive a clean audit. This disappointing performance is worrying and it must stop. Very serious interventions will happen with immediate effect,” explained Ntombela.
However, according to opposition parties the premier has taken a weak stance on a major issue that affects many other aspects of the provincial economy. “The premier has missed an important moment to really redefine herself and move away from the shadow of Ace Magashule. She did not speak confidently around the issue of municipal audits,” said EFF Provincial Secretary, Bosanku Msimanga. “She did not take a stance and say that there will be consequences for their management. She was wishy-washy,” he elaborated.
DA Free State leader, Roy Jankielsohn, expressed, “She only very briefly mentioned municipalities. The situation in municipalities is the biggest crisis facing the Free State because that is where the basic services take place that create an enabling environment for job creation and investment,” he said.
“100% of the municipalities in the Free State are under financial distress and, in fact, on the brink of collapse. They are unable to deliver some of the most basic services in the province and the premier has not mentioned any plans to deal with that,” added Jankielsohn.