Sy Mamabolo, chief electoral officer of the Independent Electoral Commission. Picture: Ben Curtis/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The Independent Electoral Commission recently downplayed the damning findings by Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu that the body had incurred up to R131 million in irregular expenditure in 2018-19.

Following the tabling of the annual report in Parliament, chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said he was satisfied that the IEC had sound supply chain management practices.

However, Mamabolo noted that of the R131m in irregular expenditure picked up, R101m was because the bid adjudication committee had not been properly constituted.

“No financial misconduct occurred and services were duly received by the commission. National Treasury has condoned the amount in the current year,” he said.

In his report, Makwetu indicated that the material findings on the IEC’s compliance were linked to an awarded tender which did not comply with adjudication criteria stipulated in the original invitation for bidding, and was thus in contravention of Treasury regulations.

“The constitutional institution incurred irregular expenditure of R131869723 due to non-compliance with procurement processes and its specific legislation,” Makwetu said.

In its annual report, the IEC listed R13909492 irregular expenditure in the Centurion Riverside Office park lease contract, which was taken on judicial review resulting in the North Gauteng High Court deciding it would not be in the interests of justice to set the lease aside.

The report further said irregular expenditure totalling R487104 was made in lump-sum payments to staff members. “The total amount incurred has been condoned and a process has been implemented to prevent further irregular expenditure from being incurred. Employment regulations have been updated and gazetted as of November 1, 2018, to prevent further irregular expenditure,” the report said.

Mamabolo said: “Due to stricter controls being implemented in the year under review, fruitless and wasteful expenditure has been reduced from R1292454 incurred in financial year 2017-18 to R35015 incurred in the year under review.”

He highlighted that the unqualified audit report presented an adverse finding on procurement.

“The focus for 2018-19 has been on improving procurement and performance-related findings related in the prior year. Overall, this was achieved by focusing on risk areas in the prior year, and improving internal controls in these areas,” Mamabolo said.

Political Bureau