The Standing Committee for Public Accounts in Gauteng (SCOPA) had a breakaway session this past week with the Auditor-General to assess the annual reports of the Gauteng government departments for the 2018/19 financial year.
The Standing Committee was briefed by the Auditor-General and Gauteng Treasury on the audit outcomes of the Gauteng provincial departments (GPG) with regard to their annual financial performance reports.
SCOPA is satisfied with the audit outcomes of the Office of the Premier and Gauteng Treasury and congratulate them for leading by example as they sustained their clean audit. Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has also retained a clean audit.
SCOPA has noted with concern the emphasis of matter for the Office of the Premier with regards to the unauthorised expenditure related to Life Esidimeni payments amounting to R5,9 million. This money, according to the Auditor-General, had to be paid by the Office of the Premier following the outcomes of the Life Esidimeni Arbitration Hearings.
The Committee is satisfied with the overall audit outcomes of the entities as 12 out of the 17 entities of Gauteng Provincial Government have received clean audits. The Committee understands that clean audits mean good governance and public accountability and thereby congratulates the boards running those entities, and their commitment to good governance and delivery of services to our communities.
However, the Committee is disappointed with regards to the audit outcomes of some of the departments as they regressed as compared to the previous financial years. Most of these departments had either shown improvements or retained clean audits in the previous 4 years, namely departments of Social Development, e-Government, Economic Development and Gauteng Legislature. The Standing Committee is particularly disappointed at the Legislature not leading by example.
Lack of improvements on the audit outcomes of the majority of the departments is a matter of great concern for the Committee. Departments of Health, Education, Roads and Transport, Community Safety, Agriculture and Rural Development, Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation and Infrastructure Development received unqualified audit opinions with findings. The Committee has welcomed the decision by the Auditor General of South Africa to prioritise the department of Health in the implementation of the provisions of the amendments of the Public Audit Act. The audit outcomes of the Department of Health have been worrying in the previous financial years underpinned by deteriorating accountability and irregular expenditure which still remains high at the Department. The Public Audit Amendment Act provides for the Auditor-General to take disciplinary steps against officials who commits financial misconducts and the Committee would like consequence management be fully implemented in the province.
The Committee has raised its concerns on the disclaimers received by both the departments of Human Settlements and its entity, the Gauteng Housing Fund. These disclaimers were attained allegedly due to the documents which were burnt when the Bank of Lisbon Building caught fire last year. SCOPA has noted that other departments which were housed in the same building were not affected the same as the Human Settlements department which is a matter for concern.
As advised by the Office of the Auditor General, SCOPA is of the view that for the audit outcomes to be improved, the Executive Authority and the Accounting Officers must play a major role by assuring that the root causes of poor performance and poor record keeping are addressed, that attention is given to the risk areas and the key controls and the best accounting practices are maintained.
The Committee therefore resolved to call upon the Executive Authorities (Speaker in the case of Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Premier in the case of the Office of Premier and MECs in the case of the Departments and relevant entities); to submit to SCOPA by 30 November 2019 a detailed oversight plan committing to directing their departments and entities to strive to attain clean audits in this 6th term of the administration.
The Committee has scheduled hearings with the Speaker, Premier and MECs to engage them on the outcomes of the audit of their departments. These hearings will commence at the end of October 2019 until November 2019. In this regard Committee will be sending questions to the departments on the areas of concern raised in the audit outcomes of 2018/19 financial year. Ends.
Issued by Hon. Sochayile Khanyile, Chairperson of SCOPA, Gauteng Provincial Legislature
For more information please contact: Mr Abe Mokoka on 079 882 5425 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUED BY GAUTENG PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE