New rates & taxes billing system to be used by Polokwane Municipality

POLOKWANE – This was announced by Polokwane Mayor, Thembi Nkadimeng, during a recent council meeting.

One of the expected challenges the municipality wants to prevent is the loss of data during the transfer from one system to the other, as has happened during the previous transition from the Finest system to SAMRAS around 2012.

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The municipality has thus decided to renew the SAMRAS contract for 12 months to make sure all data is transferred, she said.

Munsoft offers integrated financial management and an internal control system for local government, enabling clients to transact in terms of the Municipal Standard Chart of Accounts (MSCOA) Regulations.

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The system is specifically tailored to local government and includes financial management and billing software, payroll and human resources software, performance management solutions, asset verification and management solutions, metering solutions, essential Information Communications Technology (ICT) and other systems.

According to Nkadimeng, National Treasury negotiated the pricing of the new billing system to serve, among others, the 60 000 households to be billed every month. The municipality also wants to ensure the ICT unit has capacity to integrate all systems.

In the Auditor-General’s (AG) 2016/17 report on the municipality’s financial statements, it was stated the municipality’s information technology (IT) audit revealed significant control weaknesses due to key risks that were not adequately managed and mitigated within the IT areas, resulting in non-compliance with section 62(1)(c) (i) of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

Nkadimeng said there were always challenges with the SAMRAS system and that the company has been informed of the intention to migrate to a new system.

In reply to a recent article on the findings of the AG that the amount of double payments of the municipality amounted to R35 million, the Polokwane Municipality reacted on the report on 27 June saying: “It must be must be put on record that the total and actual amount for double payments as verified and audited for 2016/17 is R343 027, and not the R35 million mentioned, which is an extrapolated amount as per auditing methodology”.

Matshidiso Mothapo, Municipal Spokesperson, said auditors use a sample that represents a fraction of the total transactions. “Any actual error noted is then estimated to arrive at the possible errors.” He said the AG had used this estimation to arrive at the R35 million.

“The root cause for these double payments was the inability of the financial system to recognise double payments which is another reason why the municipality has opted to get a new financial system. The municipality has engaged the financial system vendors to create an application control that is able to detect these payments. Currently a system has been put in place for service departments to make use of an invoice register to ensure invoices recorded are checked before submission for payment,” he stated.

He added the municipal manager ordered an internal audit of all payments made in 2016/17 and the verified amount (for double payments) is R343 027.

“From the R343 027, R63 001 has been collected and about R296 000 is still to be collected. The outstanding amount is related to two amounts of R46 027 and R189 343 that are linked to the same stock items received twice with different orders. Suppliers have been engaged to pay back the money to council.

“The municipal manager has instituted an investigation on these transactions to determine whether they were by error or intention, and to ensure internal disciplinary actions are implemented.”

He said the municipal manager also instituted an internal audit process for all payments made in the 2017/18 financial year up to April and about R611 673 of duplicate payments were verified, of which R567 098 has been collected from the service providers. The office of the AG will only verify these findings on the internal audits in the next audit.

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