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Zikalala hails big increase in number of clean audits for KZN provincial departments

In 2019, there were only two departments that achieved clean audits and this number has grown to seven in the 2021/2022 financial year, Zikalala revealed during a sitting of the provincial legislature yesterday.

File Picture: KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Supplied.

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Durban - Premier Sihle Zikalala’s KwaZulu-Natal administration has improved the governance of government departments in the province as shown by the improvement of the audit outcomes.

In 2019, there were only two departments that achieved clean audits and this number has grown to seven in the 2021/2022 financial year, Zikalala revealed during a sitting of the provincial legislature yesterday.

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Zikalala recently suffered a bruising defeat at the ANC provincial conference which has also put his premiership in a precarious position. The audit outcomes could well be his swansong as premier of the province.

Briefing the legislature, Zikalala said the auditor-general (AG) had briefings with members of the executive council relating to their latest audited financial statement and non-financial performance. He said the AG had communicated the outcomes of the departments and entities and would make that report on the outcomes public soon.

“We are, however, humbled and heartened to inform this house that the picture emerging signals a fundamental breakthrough, and a ray of light promised in 2019 when we ascended as this sixth administration.

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“While the result will be officially made public soon, we must indicate that seven departments received clean audits,” he said.

Among those that received a clean audit were the Premier’s office, Treasury and the Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs departments, among others, he said.

“The number of departments that are improving is significant. This is good news for our province and augurs well with our determination to ensure accountability and transparency,” he said.

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Zilalala said most other departments had also improved in addressing matters of concern.

“I must therefore say, in 2019, when we assumed the responsibility of leading this sixth administration, we had only two departments that received clean audits. Those were the Department of Social Development and the Department of Finance.

“We are here today with seven departments having received clean audits and a number of departments having improved and there is less regression,” he said.

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He said the main source of audit queries had been irregular expenditure.

In 2019 there was R12.4 billion of irregular expenditure and this had been reduced to R6.6bn.

Zikalala said it was important to highlight that irregular expenditure didn’t mean that there was wrongdoing and that the work wasn’t done.

“We therefore believe that the 2021-22 financial year has recorded what is unprecedented in KwaZulu-Natal. This (shows) the effectiveness of Operation Clean Audit which we launched at the beginning of this administration,” he said.

Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube congratulated the provincial government on its achievements, saying it had delivered on its commitment to improve governance.

But IFP MPL Lourens de Klerk said the achievement was nothing to celebrate.

“All I’m asking for is clean audits in all departments. The premier mentioned seven possible clean audits and this side of the house (ANC benches) stood up, clapped hands and shouted.

“Is that what you are excited about? Less than 50% of our departments having clean audits; shame on you. It should be 100%, we have 15 votes (departments).”

De Klerk said almost every year the legislature was confronted with the same problem of the departments failing to achieve clean audits, which was the bare minimum when it comes to accounting standards.

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