Thumbs-up for A-G report despite KZN’s highly irregular expenditure
Durban - DESPITE Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke's criticism of KwaZulu-Natal for having the highest irregular expenditure in the country, Premier Sihle Zikalala welcomed the AG's Report for the financial year 2019/2020. He said there had been a massive improvement by all the provincial departments.
In a statement issued by the premier's office, Zikalala also gave a thumbs-up to the provincial MECs for the registered improvements.
"Premier Sihle Zikalala has welcomed the latest report from the Auditor-General which points to marked improvement in audit outcomes for the provincial government departments," the statement read. “While the AG Report has pointed to existing risks, such as the payment of izinduna and medical claims against the Department of Health, overall the AG Report is proof that the province is managing its funds well."
The premier's office felt the better results were achieved through Zikalala’s commitment made last year, when he promised to reduce wasteful expenditure and ensure that better results were achieved under his leadership.
"This year’s improvement for the 2019/2020 financial year came about because of persistent and consistent work led by the premier and the provincial executive council to ensure that all departments improve on their performance and drastically reduce irregular and fruitless expenditure.“
While the departments of Health and Transport failed to pass the audits, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs obtained a clean audit.
Zikalala said this was a positive outcome fostered by his determination to bring about good governance.
“We undertook that all departments that fell short in 2018/2019 needed to work on detailed audit improvement strategies and had to report progress on implementation regularly. We assure the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal that we will continue to stretch every muscle to ensure that we rebuild and stay on course to be a province that is characterised by clean audits and good governance."
Among other plans put in place by the premier, “Operation Clean Audit” appeared to be yielding results.
“We are pleased, but we are equally aware that more work remains to be done before we can say that the entire province, including the departments and state-owned agencies received reports with no matters of emphasis. We want to continuously raise the bar as KwaZulu-Natal. Of importance to us is that we must be able to account for every cent that we have been charged to look after. Where budgets are allocated, they must be spent where they make the most effect and with increasing levels of efficiency,” said Zikalala.
Maluleke reported that KwaZulu-Natal had the highest irregular expenditure followed by Gauteng province. She said the rate for KwaZulu-Natal’s wasteful expenditure was at R9.75 billion. Some of the biggest contributors were the departments of Transport, Education and Health.