Im­prove­ments don’t fil­ter down to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MAR­I­ANNE MERTEN Western Cape Gaut­eng KwaZulu-Natal East­ern Cape Free State Lim­popo Mpumalanga North­ern Cape North West

GAUT­ENG and the Western Cape are lead­ing the provin­cial pack with over­all im­proved au­dits, but across prov­inces, even where there are im­prove­ments, th­ese do not seem to trickle down to mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“Let’s not look at the prov­inces in iso­la­tion with the big chal­lenges at mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties,” Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu said yes­ter­day when re­leas­ing the lat­est provin­cial and na­tional au­dit out­comes.

“Why are they (prov­inces) not pay­ing at­ten­tion to mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties?”

Here’s how prov­inces fared:

Eigh­teen of the 23 au­di­tees, or 78 per­cent, at­tained clean au­dits, up from 48 per­cent the pre­vi­ous year, as the Western Cape Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion Board jumped from a qual­i­fied au­dit to a clean one.

Ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture was re­duced to R170 mil­lion, down from R221m, but 90 per­cent of this re­lated to non-com­pli­ance with sup­ply-chain man­age­ment leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing pro­cure­ment with­out com­pet­i­tive bid­ding, quo­ta­tions and con­tract man­age­ment.

As clean au­dits in­creased to 19, from eight, the qual­ity of fi­nan­cial state­ments also im­proved. The de­part­ments of Health and Hu­man Set­tle­ments again re­ceived qual­i­fied au­dit opin­ions. G-fleet (the provin­cial car pool) re­gressed to an ad­verse find­ing.

While unau­tho­rised, fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture was cut to R228m from R1.6bn over the past three years, there was also a drop in non­com­pli­ance with reg­u­la­tions.

Of the 16 de­part­ments and 22 pub­lic en­ti­ties au­dited, only seven clean au­dits were sus­tained, while two new au­di­tees joined that rank.

Twenty-one au­di­tees re­mained stag­nant, in­clud­ing the de­part­ments of Health and Ed­u­ca­tion, which again re­ceived qual­i­fied au­dits.

Ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture in­creased to R4.33bn – up from R3.59bn – with the de­part­ments of Educ­tion, Health, and Arts and Cul­ture re­spon­si­ble for 93 per­cent of this ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture.

There was no proof that goods and/or ser­vices worth R11m were ever re­ceived.

There was lit­tle move­ment in ad­dress­ing non-com­pli­ance with sup­ply-chain man­age­ment pre­scripts as root causes for no im­prove­ment.

For the first time in 20 years, the over­all au­dit out­come has im­proved, led by the Premier’s Of­fice, Trea­sury, and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs de­part­ments, which scored clean bills of health. Ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture re­lated to pro­cure­ment in­creased to R2.6bn, of which 73 per­cent was in­curred by the Roads and Pub­lic Works Depart­ment.

As the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment and the Premier’s Of­fice re­gressed to a qual­i­fied au­dit, the leg­is­la­ture re­claimed its clean au­dit, which was also awarded to the Sports Depart­ment and the fleet man­age­ment trad­ing en­tity. Only six of the 21 de­part­ments and pub­lic en­ti­ties pro­vided fi­nan­cial state­ments that did not re­quire ma­te­rial ad­just­ments.

Of the R2.429bn ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture, 92 per­cent was in­curred by the Health, Ed­u­ca­tion and Hu­man Set­tle­ments de­part­ments.

Co-oper­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Hu­man Set­tle­ments and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs got clean au­dits, while Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, En­vi­ron­ment and Tourism, and the Gate­way Air­ports Au­thor­ity re­gressed to ad­verse au­dits. Health, Pub­lic Works and the Lim­popo Tourism Agency im­proved to un­qual­i­fied au­dit with find­ings.

Only three of the 23 au­di­tees sub­mit­ted fi­nan­cial state­ments that did not re­quire ma­te­rial changes as ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture in­creased to R3.5bn – up from R2bn – on the back of the de­part­ments of Ed­u­ca­tion and Health and the Lim­popo Roads Agency.

There were no im­prove­ments. Of the big­gest spenders, only Ed­u­ca­tion pro­duced a re­li­able per­for­mance re­port. Health, Pub­lic Works, and Roads and Trans­port did not ad­dress au­dit con­cerns.

Ir­reg­u­lar spend­ing in­creased to just over R1bn, nearly five­fold from the pre­vi­ous year of R234m, with 95 per­cent of this ir­reg­u­lar spend­ing aris­ing from non­com­pli­ance with sup­ply-chain man­age­ment leg­is­la­tion. Pub­lic Works and Roads and Trans­port were the main cul­prits.

Five of the 19 au­di­tees re­ceived clean au­dits and nine re­ceived un­qual­i­fied au­dits with find­ings. Con­cerns were raised as the two largest de­part­ments – Ed­u­ca­tion and Health, were stag­nant, with qual­i­fied au­dits. Ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture is up slightly to R1.743bn.

Only two de­part­ments re­ceived qual­i­fied au­dit opin­ions and 10 were qual­i­fied with find­ings. The Trea­sury leads the pack with a clean au­dit. Health, Ed­u­ca­tion and Pub­lic Works had ma­te­rial find­ings. Ir­reg­u­lar spend­ing de­creased to R1.193bn. Spend­ing of some R506m could not be ver­i­fied.

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