Matabeleland local authorities to set up integrity committees

23 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
Matabeleland local authorities to set up integrity committees Commissioner Thandiwe Mlobane

The Chronicle

 Sikhumbuzo Moyo – [email protected]

URBAN local authorities from Matabeleland region have undertaken to set up integrity committees in their institutions and implement the Auditor-General’s recommendations within the next two months.

Local authorities from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces took the position at the end of a one-day indaba for councillors and management from urban authorities organised by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) that was held at a local hotel on Wednesday.

The indaba was meant to introduce councillors and management to a concept that the anti-graft body has developed to tackle corruption through the introduction of integrity committees that are called anti-corruption units in other countries.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)

Integrity committees go a long way in preventing corruption through the creation of strong institutions that have systems, policies and controls to prevent and fight corruption.

Zacc spokesperson, Commissioner Thandiwe Mlobane said councillors and management were clear in committing themselves that within the next two months, they would have established integrity committees and fulfilled their constitutional mandate of implementing the recommendations of the Auditor-General.

“It’s constitutionally mandated that all public entities abide by the recommendations of the Auditor-General but when that is not adhered to, we as Zacc become suspicious because that is when corruption takes centre stage. In some instances, the Auditor-General may raise issues of non-availability of an asset register or an un-updated asset register and recommends to the local authority to address that but you still find some ignoring such recommendations. We then ask ourselves why? Is it because someone wants to illegally take those assets because they won’t be recorded anywhere within the entity’s books?

So councils undertook to address these anomalies within the next two months,” said Comm Mlobane.

She said Zacc undertook an exercise last year to establish how many of the recommendations by the Auditor-General were adhered to by councils.

The Zacc official said it was discovered that only one urban council, Lupane Local Board had no outstanding recommendations that had not been tackled even though five of the 20 recommendations had been partially implemented.

“Victoria Falls City was given 38 recommendations of which seven were fully complied with while 20 were partially done leaving out eleven recommendations outstanding. Gwanda fully complied with five and two of the 15 recommendations were partially complied with, leaving them with eight outstanding recommendations,” said Comm Mlobane.

She said the Auditor-General gave Beitbridge 37 recommendations but only 13 were fully complied with and 11 partially done to leave 13 outstanding. “Hwange Local Board fully complied with 23 recommendations from the 55 with seven partially done which left them with 25 outstanding matters to adhere to,” said Comm Mlobane.

In her address at the start of the indaba, Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, in a speech read by Comm Mlobane, said there is a need for councils to self-introspect.

Justice Loice Matanda Moyo

She also said Zacc requires two reports per year from the councils, the first by the end of next month and the second at the end of the year. She said the reports are self-assessments and respond to questions such as what has the institution done to prevent corruption and promote good governance and what systems and policies have been put in place to promote integrity and prevent corruption.

“Policies can be written easily but it is the implementation that is difficult, therefore the integrity committees will ensure that policies, systems and controls are put in place and implemented, complete with set timelines for such implementation. The function of the council through its committee structures is to support the integrity committee,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo. — @skhumoyo2000.

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