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Friday Feb 01, 2013

Joburg finances stable but billing is still a bugbear

The City of Joburg has received another qualified report from the Auditor-General for the 2011/12 financial year.

And the billing problems are cited as one of the reasons for this, together with the city's asset register.

Announcing the report, the city's member of the mayoral committee for finance, Geoff Makhubo, said many of the A-G's concerns had already been addressed and that good progress had been made in resolving the billing "challenges".

The problems identified with billing related to estimates and meter readings.

"Challenges lie with the fact that the system is based in historic records of consumption by residents which are being thrown out by the computers. The A-G said it is taking too long to resolve these," he said.

In terms of the Road Revenue Map released in November 2011, of all queries ringfenced by that month, 99 percent had been resolved.

As far as current queries are concerned, city manager Trevor Fowler said 90 percent were being resolved in 90 days. The average time of resolution of queries was 36 days, and it was hoped to reduce this to 30 days.

"The city's finances are stable, our capital expenditure is at 89 percent and we have R5 billion surplus," he said.

City auditor Quentin Green said the council's cash and cash equivalents had risen compared to the previous financial year due to improved liquidity management strategies implemented during the year.

He said the city was committed to pursuing:

  • Improved and accurate billing;

  • Improved cash collection of rates and services;

  • An increase in expenditure levels for maintenance;

  • Elimination of expenditure;

  • Profitability and liquidity rates;

  • Renewal of IT systems and an integrated accounting database; and

  • An unqualified audit.

    The Star


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