Gauteng’s lack of financial controls worry AG

2009-10-23 14:03

INADEQUATE leadership, lack of planning and failure to learn from

past mistakes are behind the Gauteng provincial government’s financial woes,

Auditor-General Terence Nombembe has found.

Nombembe’s annual audit shows that only nine of the 13 provincial

departments and 13 of the 24 entities received unqualified (clean) audits.

The Auditor-General presented his findings at the Gauteng

provincial legislature on Thursday.

There were no improvements and four departments (health, economic

development, housing and agriculture) had regressed.

The audit also found that government officials disregarded

legislation and were insufficiently monitored.

Nombembe does not expect all departments to have clean audits for

now but hoped this would be achieved incrementally.

“Things will improve if chief financial officers (CFOs), internal

auditors and audit committees do their jobs effectively,” he said.

Nombembe suggested that the frequency with which CFOs and audit

committees report and engage MECs be increased.

“Audit committees should report financial risks and ways to

mitigate these,” he said.

The AG is unhappy with the reliability of information received from

government departments.

“About 40% of (all) departments don’t provide reliable

information,” Nombembe said.

Gauteng was the fourth province the AG visited to report on in the

past financial year.

Nombembe would not be drawn into which one was the worst.

“That’s not the AG’s terrain, we deal with facts,” Nombembe

said.

Meanwhile, the provincial health and social development department

appeared before the Gauteng legislature’s standing committee on public accounts

(Scopa) on Thursday.

MEC Qedani Mahlangu admitted that her department had collapsed “to

a point where it will take time to fix”.

The AG found the department had over R1 billion in unauthorised

expenditure, which includes overspending by almost R500 million and an inability

to provide evidence for R525 million expenditure in the past financial

year.

Insufficient information and evidence was provided for the R14

billion used for salaries and departmental commitments due to poor

record-keeping.

Mahlangu said the department also did not know the number of

employees it had.

To improve financial controls, the department has asked healthcare

providers for assistance and has started compiling monthly financial

statements.

 

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