'Growing trend' of clean audits in Trade and Industry - Auditor General

Rob Davies (File)
Rob Davies (File)

Irregular expenditure in the Department of Trade and Industry has declined by R3.8m, and there is a "growing trend" of clean audits within the department.

According to the Auditor General of South Africa's report for the department's 2017/18 financial year - presented to the portfolio committee of trade and industry in Parliament on Thursday - irregular expenditure declined to R7.6m.

However, dti Director General Lionel October lamented "cuts and pressures" on its budgets from government, saying this was a concern for driving industrialisation and transformation programmes led by the dti.

Growing trend of clean audits

The audit report does not include the outcomes for the South African Bureau of Standards and National Regulator for Compulsory Standards, which are within the dti portfolio, as their annual reports have not been tabled yet, said the AG’s senior audit manager, Tshepo Shabangu.

However, there has been a notable growing trend of clean audits being awarded to entities within the dti, said assistant audit manager Sizwe Nxumalo.

Clean audits have improved from four in 2014/15 to seven in 2017/18.

Nxumalo highlighted that irregular expenditure in particular was on the decline.

The dti reported zero irregular expenditure in the year 2013/14, which ballooned to R40m in the year 2014/15. This has subsequently been reduced to R7.6m, reported in 2017/18.

The dti has also managed to keep tabs on fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

In 2014/15 the fruitless and wasteful expenditure reported was R142 000, which increased to R417 000 in 2015/16 and has since reduced to R33 000 for the 2017/18 financial year.

'Hard time'

October thanked the committee for giving the department a "hard time" as this has pushed them to work hard to ensure clean audits for the past three years.

The AG also noted that some of the dti’s entities had carried out recommendations it prescribed, resulting in clean audits.

The department further managed to spend 99% of its allocated budget of R9.3bn for the period.

More than half of the budget (58.91%), or R5.4bn, was transferred to the department’s beneficiaries in incentive scheme programmes.

Less than a quarter (23.61%), or R2.2bn, went towards transfer payments to departmental agencies, foreign governments and international organisations, while the remaining 17.48% was allocated towards operational expenditure.

This is the last annual report to be tabled under the current administration. 

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