31/07/2012 Auditor General of South Africa, Terence Nombembe speaking to Unisa's College of Econimic and Management Sciences Alumni and business community at a breakfast held at Unisa. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg - The three spheres of government owe the Auditor-General Terrence Nombembe nearly R500 million in unpaid audit fees, according to a report on Wednesday.

The City Press online reported that local government debt stands at R206m, up from R170m last year, while provincial departments owe R124m, according to the Auditor-General’s 2011/12 annual report.

Nombembe has warned that increasing local government debt may cause cash flow problems for his office.

National departments have not paid R63m and other state-owned entities owe R58m.

Of the R206m owed by local government, Eastern Cape municipalities owe R57m, North West (R42m), Northern Cape (R37m) and Free State (R23m).

Last year, the total debt stood at R399m.

In the annual report, Nombembe has noted that debt collection from municipalities continues to deteriorate. - Sapa