Municipalities across the country run by the African National Congress incurred R17-billion in irregular expenditure before new administrations took over after the August elections.

This was revealed in a municipal audit report presented in a joint sitting of the National Council of Provinces and the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on Tuesday.

The audit looked at the financial state of municipalities across the country‚ between July 31 2015 and June 30 2016.

It showed the following:

– There was a total of almost R17 billion in irregular expenditure in 2015/16‚ an increase of R5 billion over 2014/15;

– The municipalities failed to notice almost 40% of their own irregular expenditure;

– The North West contributed a staggering 15% of the total irregular expenditure;

– The worst contributor responsible for the irregular expenditure in 2015/16 was the ANC-governed OR Tambo District at R1.56 billion; and

– Over half of all unauthorised‚ irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure reported was not investigated at all.

Democratic Alliance MP responsible for Cogta Kevin Mileham said the ANC government had been directly responsible for financially crippling these municipalities through thieving and looting.

“This is money that should have been spent on delivering basic services to the people. Yet it has become abundantly clear that the ANC continues to put its self-interest above the needs of the people. This is what the DA inherited where we came into government after August 2016 and now the financial situation of these municipalities is fast improving‚” he said.

Mileham said the DA had started to turn around municipalities that it won from the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay‚ Johannesburg and Tshwane in order to deliver services to the people and ensure prudent spending.