Communications Minister Dina Pule has ordered the SABC and all the other state-owned companies reporting to her to no longer employ specialist auditing firms to audit their books.

Instead, the minister said, all parastatals under her watch would now be audited by the auditor-general.

The Department of Communications is in charge of the SABC, the post office, the Independent Communications Authority of SA, Telkom and network operator Sentech.

The decision to transfer the auditing of these companies to Auditor-General Terence Nombembe was communicated to them at a breakfast meeting in Sandton, Joburg, on Friday.

Pule’s spokesman Siya Qoza said Nombembe would not take over the auditing of the state-owned companies under the minister’s watch.

“What we are doing is to ask the auditor-general to assist with the audit, basically to improve corporate governance.

“The auditor-general is merely providing guidelines.”

He said the move was aimed at strengthening corporate governance at these companies, and ensuring that all of them obtained clean audits in 2014.

Some of the institutions were doing well, but others struggled, he added.

In January 2010, the cash-strapped SABC got a R1.47 billion loan, to be financed over five years, to enable its board to turn the institution around.

However, the SABC has failed to come up with a turnaround strategy and could not reduce the number of its staff to levels that would enable it to be profitable.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: “We support the decision because it is from government. It does not affect us only, but other state-owned institutions under the Department of Communications.”

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Sunday Independent