Audit of Necsa report lays bare challenges facing new board

Auditor General Kimi Makwetu. (Photo: Gallo Images)
Auditor General Kimi Makwetu. (Photo: Gallo Images)

The new board of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa will have its work cut out for it, if the corporation’s much-delayed 2018/19 annual report is anything to go by.

The Auditor General, Kimi Makwetu, slapped Necsa with a disclaimer audit opinion due to a lack of internal controls and insufficient audit evidence to confirm cash flows forecast in its financial statements.

So troubled is the corporation that it was not been able to table its annual reports and financial statements to Parliament in 2018 in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act. The Necsa integrated report for the 2018/19 financial year was only tabled in Parliament this week.

In January Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe announced seven new board members for the corporation, to be chaired by the former chief nuclear officer at Eskom, David Nicholls.

The corporation faces considerable financial and operational challenges. Earlier in 2020, the group's ability to pay salaries to staff was in doubt. Staff did in the end receive their salaries. 

Makwetu said while the corporation's annual performance report announced external sales of R402.4 million for the group in the 2018/19 financial year, supporting evidence did not agree with this and indicated a sales achievement of R380.7 million.

"I was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence that the accounting authority has fulfilled its responsibility for the preparation and fair presentation of the consolidated and separate financial statement in accordance to international financial reporting standards," Makwetu wrote.

The auditor general said the accounting authority did not exercise adequate oversight responsibility regarding compliance with laws and regulations related to internal controls. This led to instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations.

The audit and risk committee wrote that while financial controls at the corporation were lacking, it was still considered a going concern.

"The internal financial function lacks proper control and various recommendations have been made to management towards improving the control environment," the audit and risk committee report said.

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