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MBDA Board approves annual report with successive unqualified audit by AGSA

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On Friday the 23rd of April 2021, the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) met to consider for approval the comprehensive 2019-2020 Annual Report. Section 121 of the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 (MFMA) stipulates that every municipality and municipal entity must for each financial year prepare an Annual Report in accordance with the Act’s guidelines. The MFMA identifies three purposes of an annual report, to provide a record of the activities of the municipality or municipal entity during the financial year to which the report relates, to provide a report on performance against the budget of the municipality or municipal entity for that financial year, and to promote accountability to the community for the decisions made throughout the year by the municipality or municipal entity. Annual reports are therefore required to contain information on service delivery, in addition to financial statements and the audit report. It is meant to be a backward-looking document, focusing on performance in the financial year that has just ended. It reports on how the budget for that financial year was implemented. The Auditor General of South Africa report noted: Mputumi Goduka, then Board Chairperson for the 2019-2020 period in review, reports that “the attainment of yet another unqualified audit outcome from the Auditor General of South Africa is not taken lightly, especially after enduring significant, strategic, operational, and funding challenges during a period punctuated by an unprecedented global pandemic”. Current Board Chairperson, Mandlakazi Skefile who presided over the meeting said “the MBDA Board welcomes the successive unqualified audit outcome from the AG, and the Board notes the reduction in matters of emphasis”. “Going forward, the Board will work closely with management to overcome the matters raised by the AG” added Skefile. Service delivery and performance: Chief Executive Officer, Ashraf Adam, is his report says “the 2019/2020 financial year will have bitter-sweet memories for the MBDA team. The Agency was on course to improve its capital performance over an already significantly improved 2018/19 financial year”. “In line with most public sector service delivery organisations, performance is accelerated in the last two quarters, often referred to as the hockey stick effect”. Adam adds, “When the country was put on national lockdown at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agency was tracking above 50% achievement of targets, however we were forced to put all capital work on hold, dampening the prospects of repeating and exceeding the 2018/2019 performance benchmark”. Some of the service delivery highlights for 2019/2020 include: 1. In December 2019, the Agency launched the first ever public space improvement infrastructure facility built with new generation composite materials. The Baakens pedestrian bridge is now a proud feature of the Valley, a much-needed safe transit facility for the residents, workforce, and tourists. In the long term, the Baakens bridge will become a crucial feature to link the Baakens parkway development to the City centre. 2. Preparation for several catalytic programmes such as Bayworld, Happy Valley and the Uitenhage Sheds redevelopment. A strategy for a smart Bayworld was started, along with the early conceptual design phase of a smart automotive industrial academy. 3. The Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre (NMBSTC) in Uitenhage continued to play a critical role in basic education Science and Technology promotion, hosting the annual Career Summit, Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, and much supported National Science week. 4. During this period, the Agency also launched an innovative zero-rated public participation platform called MBDAengage.co.za, this digital platform has transformed the interface between the institution and the public and has also been deployed to programs of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. 5. During the pandemic hit fourth quarter, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was converted into a Covid-19 Isolation Centre, and subsequently received accolades locally and abroad for the most innovative support programs and holistic care provided to candidate patients. The recovery rate of patients at the NMBS was hailed as the most successful Covid-19 isolation facility, a joint effort with the Department of Health and the Municipality. Continues Adam “through leveraging existing and new partnerships, the MBDA developed a ground-breaking Covid-19 Social response program to alleviate the pressure in communities across the Bay, working closely with Municipally supported entities such as the Community Chest and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber”. “The team at the Nelson Mandela Bay Science & Technology Centre used the downtime to produce much needed sanitisers and masks for community use and distributed to schools as far as Motherwell”. Skefile concludes, “the Board of the MBDA has considered all factors presented to it by management, the Auditor General of South Africa, and having taken the reports though various committees, the Board resolved to approve the 2019-2020 Annual Report as tabled. The approved Annual Report will be submitted to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in line with National Treasury guidelines.