KZN sets audit target

2009-11-10 18:07

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal government on Tuesday announced bold steps aimed at ensuring government departments and municipalities have clean audits by 2014.

"A clean bill of health of departments and municipalities not only attracts investors and enables government and businesses to obtain loans, but it also improves the public image of government," finance MEC Ina Cronje said.

She was speaking at the launch of "operation clean audit 2014" in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, according to a statement by her department.

Using taxpayers' money correctly

The project was aimed at forcing government departments and municipalities to use taxpayers' money appropriately.

Fourteen departments and 61 municipalities signed a pledge to commit to a set of targets.

"Between 2010 and 2011, no municipality and provincial department should have qualifications or disclaimers in terms of audit opinions."

The provincial government wanted at least 46 of the 61 municipalities and 11 departments achieving unqualified audits by 2013.

"We want all municipalities and departments to achieve unqualified opinions by 2014. Municipalities will now have to produce quarterly financial reports as opposed to doing this only annually," she said.

Financial statements missing deadlines

The KwaZulu-Natal government had made significant progress in the outcomes of its provincial audit reports.

"Over the past five years adverse and disclaimer audit opinions have moved to unqualified audit opinions. In fact no department received an adverse or disclaimer audit opinion for the 2007/08 and 2008/09 financial years."

Cronje's department was concerned by the persistent trend of municipalities not submitting financial statements on time.

It was helping the Ilembe, Richmond, Mbabazane and Mpofana municipalities manage their finances.

"We also want to warn political leaders not to abuse their positions by instructing officials to break the law."

Among the transgressions reported in the recent audit reports, unauthorised expenditure and irregular expenditure were most common, she said.