Irregular spending on Nkandla done behind A-G’s back

2014-11-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Evidence of large scale unauthorised and irregular spending on the Nkandla project was hidden from the auditor-general (A-G).

That was why the A-G did not spot any irregularities in the three years ­during which R246 million was spent on improving President Jacob Zuma’s private estate at Nkandla.

This was the answer auditor-general Kimi Makwetu yesterday gave ­Parliament when MPs asked why his ­department never raised the alarm about Nkandla. Makwetu was speaking during the tabling of the PFMA 2013/14 report on national and provincial audit ­outcomes.

He said the audit reports of Public Works show the A-G stated it could not form an audit opinion because the department did not present the necessary documents. He said the audit was further complicated because some of the documents provided were classified.

Public Works only decided earlier this year to act against the officials who were involved in the project after the public protector and Special Investigations Unit found many rules and regulations had been flouted and the department had overspent by R155,3 million.

The A-G’s records show the national Department of Public Works also ­received an audit disclaimer.

Speaking about the 2013/14 report, which includes 165 departments and 304 public entities, with a total budgeted expenditure of R1,035 trillion, Makwetu said clean audits have come down from 75 in the last fiscal year to 53.

Just over half (51%) of the departments and entities received an “unqualified with findings” audit outcome, while 16% were “qualified with findings”, four percent received an “adverse or ­disclaimer” audit, while a further four percent did not submit on time.

The report warns that while reporting on performance is improving, South Africa’s main service delivery sectors are lagging behind. Almost a third of the departments did not have the relevant documents available.

Economist Mike Schussler said the A-G’s admission that Public Works could easily hide massive unauthorised and irregular spending was worrying.

“If they [the A-G] did not pick it up, it may mean there are many other such cases that they are also not picking up.

“This tells me our institutions may not be as good as they are portrayed. It also means the A-G is not infallible.”

Makwetu told Parliament cases where officials ignore financial legislation and tender regulations were ­“extremely widespread”.

Parliamentary committee chairperson ­Cedric Frolick said improved ­control measures have to be put in place to catch “serial offenders”.

He said officials have fallen into a ­habit of simply ignoring all the rules and regulations and only trying to fix things so the A-G will not find irregularities.

Frolick warned this habit will destroy certain departments and “will have a negative impact on SA as a whole”.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.