AG studying judgment setting aside Western Cape Agriculture Dept audit reports
Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s office is studying the Western Cape High Court judgment that set aside two qualified audit reports of the provincial agriculture department.
Makwetu’s spokesperson Africa Boso told Independent Media on Saturday that the office has received the judgment.
”We are currently studying the judgment and we will take a position on how to deal with it in due course. We will therefore not comment any further on the matter at this stage,” he said.
Boso promised that by the time they announce the 2018/19 local government audit outcomes next month Makwetu would have dealt with the matter.
Acting Judge Wesley Vos delivered his ruling this week reviewing and setting aside the audit report of the department’s financial statements for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years.
The acting judge set aside the qualified audit opinion for both 2016/17 and 2017/18, the finding that the department did not account for R266 million in payments to implementing agents Casidra and Hortgro, incorrectly budgeted and accounted for the payments as transfers and subsidies instead of either expenditure for capital assets or goods and services.
Casidra is a wholly owned provincial government business enterprise responsible for farmer settlement, drought relief, flood relief, land care projects and the expanded public works projects.
The funds transferred to Hortgro, which was established by the deciduous fruit industry, were used for farmer settlement.
The finding that the department irregularly entered into contracts with the implementing agents without applying Treasury Regulations in both financial years was also reviewed and set aside.
Vos also set aside Makwetu’s finding that in 2017/18 the principal-agent relationships were not disclosed.
The province’s department of economic opportunities approached the high court after failing to find common ground following engagements with the auditor-general’s office.