South Africa’s Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s local government audit results for the 2018-19 financial year have found that out of the 257 municipalities in the country, only 20 have been awarded clean audits. Most of the municipalities with clean audits are in the Western Cape and Gauteng. Makwetu’s report found that municipalities have lost a total of R32 billion in irregular expenditure, fraud and corruption. He says the undesirable state of deteriorating audit outcomes indicates that some local governments are slow in implementing (and in many instances even disregarding) his office’s recommendations. Makwetu says a lack of controls among some local government role players is behind most of the adverse findings:
If you look at many of the municipalities that we analyzed, because they didn’t apply proper controls, they run out of cash and to pay for the things they did last year. They wait for the equitable share of this year, when controls are not in place financial health risk accelerates. You get to a point where you are not able to pay for your staff.
He was interviewed on both SAFM and Radio 702 yesterday morning. On both occasions he criticized incompetent leadership, implying this is the main cause of financial mismanagement.
Why is this? What are we as citizens doing about this? May I suggest that far too often, we who are called by God to pray for those in authority over us, do not pray for them. Coupled to this, many feel that because they did not vote for a certain party, they do not need to pray for nor support them. What does God say about this?
Ro 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
The first matter to understand is that even though you are a voter, as is everyone who is registered to vote, God appoints the leaders of a country. There are times when He gives good and great leaders and there are times when He gives leaders the people want. When people exclude the true God from their lives, their voting will generate leaders that exclude God from their lives. Yet, when the bulk of the people seek the true God to raise up godly men and women to lead, God will honour them and respond favourably. So, God raises up leaders who reflect the spiritual and moral character of the voters. Look what happened when our country voted in the First Democratic Elections in 1994. As a nation, we were passionately praying that God would raise up great, courageous men and women to lead our nation. He did that! After a few terms passed, leadership decayed to where we today have a “State Capture Commission” presiding over one of the most serious effects of bad leadership ever! But then, God also says
1Ti 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
The majority of us do not pray for our leaders even though God requires we do.
Why ought we to pray for “kings and all those in authority?” Because when they are presented before the Throne of Grace regularly, God’s response will be that we “live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” It is then the Gospel will flourish … “God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” This can only happen when people acknowledge, through salvation, that “there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.” When the Gospel flourishes, God’s people pray passionately for all leaders in all spheres, peace follows and in that peace godly leadership results. Those whom God appoints we need to pray for … when we don’t, we have the leadership that destroys good governance! The Auditor-General’s local government audit results for the 2018-19 financial year proves this to be true.
But there is another audit that we need to remember–one that is inescapable. It is the audit of our talents, gifts and abilities on that great, yet awesome, Day of the Lord! I am speaking about Ephesians 2:10. Before we get too comfortable in our salvation, we need to do self-audits of our lives in preparation for our coming judgment. It’s going to come. Yes, Jesus is our advocate who does and will speak to the Father on our behalf, but that does not mean we escape this audit!
2Co 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
So here is the point of the spiritual audit I suggest … you cannot sing the glories of Jesus and come across as the perfect believer, whilst you have your hand in the cookie jar … meaning that as a Christian you need to live the life God requires because you need to progress in imaging Jesus in your morals, ethics and behaviour. God sees and God knows … and on that Day He will allocate rewards according to our faithfulness. Yes, heaven is for believers, but surely no one wants to arrive there being ashamed of his or her preparation for glory. How ashamed many municipal leaders must be today!
Great and Glorious Father, please help me to execute a self-audit of my ways to ensure holiness follows. Amen.