Departments, SOEs are still flouting audit outcomes - AG
Makwetu told the parliamentary standing committee on the auditor-general on Friday that this was one of the reasons there were delays by some of the departments and SOEs in tabling their audited financial statements in Parliament.
Departments and SOEs have until the end of September every year to submit their financial statements, but some of them have written to Speaker Thandi Modise asking for postponements.
Deputy Auditor-General Tsakani Ratsela said out of the audits they conducted last year there had been a reduction in those they completed because of resistance.
Ratsela said while they had completed 94% of the audits of departments and SOEs last year, this number was reduced to 85% this year.
She said there were various reasons for this, including departments and SOEs challenging the audit findings.
“The other issue is contestation. Many auditees are pushing back on the audits,” she said.
She said there were audits they could not complete because of ongoing concerns such as some of the SOEs requiring funding before finalising their financial statements.
Makwetu said they would take contestations as they came.
“They say we give them this view because we are on the same side as their enemies. The reality is that we are cautioning you that there are risks. The contestations, we will take them as they come because they are part of normal engagement,” said Makwetu.
He said departments and SOEs would need to understand that the role of the auditor-general was to audit their books.
Makwetu said auditors could not change facts on financial statements.
The issue of resistance was raised with MPs during the last term of Parliament.
The auditor-general warned at the time there was an increase in the number of municipalities, departments and SOEs challenging their findings. Some even threatened to go to court to challenge the findings.
Makwetu said they would not change the audit opinion because someone disagreed with the outcome.
Makwetu also warned that entities delaying the tabling of their financial statements would impact on the quality of the work.
“Ours is to convince the board to submit the financial statements. It’s better to give them a chance to write a book and tell the story. Others don’t want to tell the story in the book, they hope it will be fixed. Some of the delays are of that nature,” said Makwetu.
He said delays in submitting financial statements could not drag on longer than two years.