R79m later, Bay accounting system still not compliant

City wants to spend R5.8m more before deciding whether to issue new tender

Nelson Mandela Bay
Nelson Mandela Bay

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality wants to spend almost R6m to assess the city’s accounting system before deciding on whether  to go out to tender.

While R5.8m has been budgeted for in the early adjustments budget for a project management team to conduct an assessment on the  Municipal Standard Chart of Accounts (Mscoa) accounting system, this still needs council approval.

The Mscoa system is mandatory for all municipalities. Municipal bosses have  for years been trying to get the city Mscoa compliant without success.

The city has spent R79m for its much-vaunted financial accounting system, which is still not fully up and running.

During a joint budget and treasury and mayoral committee meeting last Wednesday, Bay CFO Selwyn Thys said the National Treasury had assisted the metro in doing a technical assessment on the present system.

This, he said, was to ascertain where the city had gaps and what needed to be done to be fully Mscoa compliant.

“In order to drive the project forward, we need some project management capacity which is being discussed at the level of management.

“We’re discussing the pros and cons of doing this in-house versus externally.

“We’ve already spent an amount of R71m on the system and we don’t have a fully compliant system.

“The first part of the assessment is to check our due diligence and assess if we spend money on upgrading the current system, what will the price tag be and does the current system have the technical capacity to actually be enhanced and get it Mscoa compliant.

This will be contrasted with if we had to go out on a completely new process, what would the price tag of that be

“This will be contrasted with if we had to go out on a completely new process, what would the price tag of that be,” Thys said.

It was revealed earlier this year that the city’s contract with service provider Sebata had expired and the metro’s systems were still not Mscoa compliant, as is required by the National Treasury.

Municipal laws prohibit the municipality from simply extending a contract that has lapsed.

While the item was meant to be passed during Friday’s council meeting, councillors instead spent nearly seven hours without passing a single item.

Instead,  council speaker  Buyelwa Mafaya adjourned the meeting because of concerns regarding Covid-19 regulations violations.

Muncipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said R93m had been spent on Mscoa from between 2014/2015 and 2017/2018.

"[The] R5.8m is for any operational related costs regarding Mscoa including but not limited to establishing a project management unit that is non-existent reporting to the City Manager as repeatedly advised by National Treasury," he said.

Mniki said the matter with Sebata was still before court.

On how much money the city needed in order to be Mscoa compliant, Mniki said it would be determined in line with the defined business needs with the assistance of the project manager.

Mniki said that whether or not the city took out a new tender to get the accounting system fully operational would be determined by the report of national treasury on the assessment of the current Legacy System and with the guidance and support from the project manager.


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