KZN’s clean audits plan

2009-11-11 00:00

ONE of the measures to ensure that KwaZulu-Natal government departments and municipalities achieve clean audits by 2014 is for politicians and civil servants to stop meddling in procurement processes for government tenders.

Speaking during the launch of Operation Clean Audit 2014 at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall yesterday, KZN Finance MEC Ina Cronje said that supply chain management (SCM), in the words of President Jacob Zuma, is the area where most corruption takes place. It is government’s duty to ensure that the SCM is beyond reproach, adding that government is monitoring how provincial departments procure their goods and services.

“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. There is not a right way to do a wrong thing,” said Cronje.

She further cautioned the politicians and officials not to turn a blind eye to corruption but to say “no” to fraud and corruption.

Cronje also criticised government officials’ poor planning, which results in unauthorised overspending. She said officials fail to plan ahead for government events such as Women’s Day celebrations, and at the eleventh hour such events are termed “emergencies” when funds have to be released. “One knows a year in advance there will be a Women’s Day function and does not have to wait two days before the event to get suppliers.

Likewise, poor planning can also be blamed for fiscal dumping, which means that value for money flies out the window …”

The MEC called on politicians and officials to treat the public’s money as they would treat their personal finances. She said the public coffers’ funds should not be wasted.

“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,” said Cronje.

Head of Operation Clean Audit 2014 Dr Batandwa Siswana told the delegation at the city hall, made up of the provinces’ mayors and municipal managers, that it is to improve fiscal governance and financial management.

Siswana said most municipalities in the province do not adhere to basic accounting standards, such as keeping invoices of purchased assets. Filing systems and record-keeping are a problem at most councils and departments and this has to change, he said. He echoed Cronje’s statements, saying that it is unacceptable for government officials and politicians to do business with the government and that the practice should not be condoned.

KZN Auditor-General Herman Van Zyl said that government departments and municipalities in the province should not only aim to achieve clean audits by 2014 but to understand the root causes of qualified or adverse audits for certain departments and municipalities.

The SA Police Service commercial crimes unit directorate issued a stern warning at yesterdays launch that it will investigate all criminal elements of the operation with fervour.

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