SA auditor-general Kimi Makwetu said government’s irregular expenditure has skyrocketed by 80% to R46.36bn in the 2015-16 financial year.
Auditor-general Makwetu laid the blame for the increase on government departments and the entities under their control for not adhering to supply chain management guideline.
Makwetu stated this during a media briefing on Wednesday, where he gave his general report on national and provincial government departments and their entities.
There, he made mention of improvements among provinces in the report, which assesses 484 auditees, including 196 national and provincial departments and 315 public entities with a budget of R1.2-trillion.
But he said only 9% of the national auditees registered an improvement in the past three years. Only 30% received clean audits while 15% were disclaimed, adverse or outstanding.
According to Makwetu also, those that received an unfavourable audit opinion in some cases, did not have proper accounting systems in place to account adequately for their finances.
“There were also a growing number of entities whose financial statements were outstanding,” said Makwetu, adding that 27 audits were not completed in time for the auditor general’s consolidated report.
Report has it that the reason behind the delayed submission of the financial statements was often that the departments or entities in question disagreed with the auditor-general on their preliminary financial standing.
Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu went on to reveal that fruitless and wasteful expenditure grew by 14% in the three-year period, to R1.37bn. Six auditees, including Prasa, made up more than 70% of the fruitless and wasteful expenditure. While Unauthorized expenditure decreased by just over 50% in the three-year period, to R925m.
He however warned that while irregular expenditure did not necessarily mean money was lost, it opened the door to potential rot.
“The litany of these things creates doubt as to whether you procured these goods and services efficiently and cost-effectively.
“It could lead to a conflict of interest where people who work for government and want to do business with the state would want to take advantage,” he warned.
Meanwhile, Parliament’s relevant committee has taken it upon themselves to investigate lacklustre audit outcomes from various departments and entities,” said the chairman of the standing committee on the auditor-general, Vincent Smith.
“It is an increasingly difficult auditing environment that the auditor-general finds his office in. Parliament has a constitutionally mandated obligation to defend Chapter 9 institutions. Much more needs to be done to get to a place where we are happy,” said Smith.
The standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) had requested that government’s anti-corruption task team be present at committee hearings of departments and entities when expenditure is discussed, he added.