Education's good report

2008-10-16 00:00

For the first time in five years, the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department received an unqualified audit report from the auditor-general (A-G).

The department was lauded for this “remarkable achievement” by members of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) in the legislature yesterday.

Member Belinda Scott said that if she was told four years ago that the department would end up achieving a clean audit, she would not have believed it. “I didn’t think the MEC [Ina Cronjé] was going to manage. She has done it with an exceptional team led by Dr [Cassius] Lubisi. Please pass on our congratulations to the rest of the staff, we are really proud that the highest spending department ends up with an unqualified audit.”

Mike Tarr (ANC) reminded the committee that KZN’s Education Department is the second largest government department in the country, after Defence, and controls the largest budget in the province. The 2007/08 audit involved accounting for the spending of about R18 billion.

Roger Burrows (DA) also paid tribute to the A-G’s office, who assisted the department over the years to get to the point of having an unqualified audit.

Lubisi said: “For the first time, we … can now speak with confidence about our finances”.

A-G Herman van Zyl said Lubisi and chief financial officer Hlengiwe Mcuma ensured that the department had the necessary systems in place to manage the budgets entrusted upon them by the legislature. He said special mention must be made of the fact that the 2007/08 audit was made easier due to the timeliness of eliciting responses to queries and management letters.

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