’Signs of improvement’ in government audits, but little progress
Durban - The auditor-general (AG), Tsakani Maluleke, today reported “signs of improvement” in the national and provincial government audits, but also raised concern that little progress was made in addressing concerns raised in the previous year.
Maluleke called on executive authorities and co-ordinating departments to pay specific attention to state-owned entities, struggling public entities and the key service delivery departments such as health and education.
“The inability of these auditees to sustain their operations and continue to deliver services will have, and is having, a significant impact on government finances and the lives of citizens,” she said.
According to the General Report, irregular expenditure decreased to R54.34 billion from R66.90bn in the previous year.
The AG said the amount could even be higher, as 31% of the auditees were qualified because the amount disclosed was incomplete, or disclosed that they had incurred irregular expenditure but that the full amount was not known.
“If the full irregular expenditure was disclosed there would not have been a decrease from the previous year,” she said.
In addition, the AG could not audit R2.08bn-worth of contracts due to missing or incomplete information.
Maluleke said auditees have a “poor track record” when it comes to dealing with irregular expenditure and ensuring accountability.
The year-end balance of irregular expenditure that had accumulated over many years and has not yet been dealt with stood at R262.03bn.
The top 10 contributors to that irregular expenditure that have not been dealt with are:
1. Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa – R27.29bn
2. Gauteng Department of Health – R13.55bn
3. KZN Department of Health – R13.44bn
4. KZN Department of Transport – R12.37bn
5. South African National Roads Agency – R10.90bn
6. Department of Water and Sanitation – R8.94bn
7. North West Department of Health – R8.86bn
8. National Student Financial Aid Scheme – R7.58bn
9. Northern Cape Department of Health – R 6.87bn
10. KZN Department of Education – R6.57bn