Jackson Mthembu’s office complains that while unauthorised and wasteful expenditure are discovered but no actions taken.
The Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes the Auditor General’s (AG) report on the national and provincial audit outcomes for the 2016/2017 financial year as released yesterday. This report shows slight improvement in the audit outcomes of government departments and entities.
Whilst we welcome the improvement in provinces such as Gauteng and Western Cape with 52% and 85% clean audits respectively; and the general improvement of 30% of clean audits nationally, we remain concerned about the R45.4 billion in fruitless and irregular expenditure.
Since the commencement of the Public Audit Act, 2004, the Auditors General’s efforts to assign consequences for poor financial and performance management through its audit reports has yielded mixed results.
Year on year, the AG reports astronomical amounts of unauthorised, irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure, yet actions by auditees to recover these have been unsatisfactory.
It is for this reason that Parliament through its Standing Committee on the Auditor General is proposing the Public Audit Amendment Bill, 2017.
The Bill seeks to empower the AG to refer undesirable audit outcomes arising from audits performed in terms of the Public Audit Act, 2004 to an appropriate body for further investigation and to empower the AG to issue a certificate of debt to recover losses in certain instances against the accounting officer or accounting authority accountable for those losses.
The Bill also seeks to provide certainty with regard to the AG’s discretion to perform certain audits and provide for a clear mandate to engage in international audit work and to provide any consequential amendments.
The Standing Committee on the Auditor General will adopt the proposed amendment bill on 17 November 2017 and present it to the National Assembly thereafter.
The envisaged date for adoption of the final Bill by the National Assembly is end of February 2018 in order for the new powers to be effective beginning of the 2018/2019 financial year.
Once adopted, we are confident that these amendments will give the AG the necessary teeth to bite overspending, fraud and corruption from the public purse.
(by Nonceba Mhlauli)