DA: Scopa should probe audits

2010-10-25 23:45

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it wants the ministers of the 11 national departments that received a qualified audit for the past financial year, to appear before Parliament's standing committee on public accounts, Scopa.

In statement on Monday, DA public accounts spokesperson Mark Steele said a summary of audit outcomes compiled by his party suggested achieving the 2014 "clean audit" target might be beyond some departments.

In 2009/10, only 23 of 34 national departments received unqualified audits.

Steele said the best performer over the past five years was the department of public enterprises, which had "received five unqualified audits in a row, with three of them being 'clean' (without matters), including in the last financial year".

The worst included correctional services, defence, home affairs, labour, and rural development and land reform, which had each received a qualified audit in every year of the past five years.

"Of concern is the fact that the outcomes for departments with long histories of qualified audits - and especially correctional services, defence, justice and constitutional affairs, and labour - continue to fall foul of the auditor general.

"Even the wholesale replacement of key personnel in these departments has not resulted in an instant turnaround, and the challenge for the political leadership of these departments remains to demonstrate their commitment to institutional change."

Of concern was the failure of these departments to manage assets properly, which had led to huge increases in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

"The Democratic Alliance will be pressing for the ministers of all 11 national departments with qualified audits to appear before Scopa together with their accounting officers," Steele said.