IT service spend trips up PSC audit

Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu
Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu

The Public Service Commission received an unqualified audit opinion from Auditor General Kimi Makwetu, but the financial management watchdog has flagged R2.1m spent in IT services that, by law, should have been done by the State Information Technology Agency.

The SITA Act outlines the provision of IT goods and services to government departments.

Makwetu also said enough was not done to prevent irregular spend of almost R1m.

Growing IT spend

According to the PSC's financial statements, the commission spent R6.4m on IT services in 2017/18 and R5.3m in 2018/19.

Of the total expenditure on IT services in 2018/19, R2.1m went to service providers other than SITA, up from R1.2m in the previous financial year.

The notes to financial statements named Vox Telecom as one of the alternative service providers, and this was under investigation.

Makwetu said while material misstatements of commitments identified by the auditors in the submitted financial statements were corrected - resulting in the financial statements receiving an unqualified opinion - legislation was ignored in the procurement of some goods and services.

"One contract relating to IT goods and services, classified as mandatory, was not procured through SITA as required by Treasury regulations and the SITA Act.

"Similar non-compliance was also reported in the prior year," the AG wrote.

Makwetu also said the commission's financial statements submitted for auditing were not prepared in line with the prescribed financial reporting framework, as per section 40(1)(b) of the Public Finance Management Act.

"Some of the goods and services with a transaction value below R500 000 were procured without obtaining the required price quotations, as required by Treasury regulations," Makwetu added.

Irregular expenditure

Makwetu further found that effective and appropriate steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure amounting to R980 000, as required by the PFMA and Treasury regulations.

"The majority of the irregular expenditure was caused by non-compliance with supply chain management regulations relating to a contract identified as irregular in the prior year," Makwetu wrote.

In the annual report, PSC acting deputy director-general of corporate services Zwelinjani Momeka explained that the Information Technology Directorate continued to provide first-line support to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline system and the Integrated Grievance and Complaints Management System.

"In line with IT best practice, the IT Procedure manual was reviewed and approved by the DG in December 2018. The procurement of Wi-Fi for Provincial Offices was also concluded. This is aimed at ensuring that Commissioners and employees get the best user’s experience on the network," said Momeka.

*This article has been amended to reflect the accurate spending of the PSC on computer services between 2017-18 and 2018-19. The commission, in fact, spent R6.4m and R5.3m in these financial years respectively. The error is deeply regretted.

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