AG says irregular spending sharply up

Kimi Makwetu, the auditor general

The Auditor General Kimi Makwetu has announced the national and provincial audit results that show an improvement “albeit at a very slow rate” in the past four years, but irregular spending is a worry in 2016-17.

Irregular spending has increased by 55 percent since the previous year to R45.6 billion, the auditor general reported from Pretoria, but his remarks were also beamed to parliament in Cape Town.

The AG says this amount could be even higher, as it does not include the irregular expenditure of the auditees where the audits are still ongoing – including Prasa, where irregualr expenditure last year was almost R14 billion. “Had the irregular expenditure of auditees whose audits had not been completed at the date of this report been factored into the above, the total amount of irregular expenditure could rise to as high as R65 billion.”

“Furthermore, 25 percent of the auditees disclosed that they had incurred irregular expenditure but that the full amount was not known, whle 28 auditees were qualified – as the amount they had disclosed was incomplete,” the AG reported.

The sectors with the highest amounts of irregular expenditure were health at some R11.7 billion, transport at R6.3 billion and education at just over R6 billion.

A bad sign was that there were 26 audits outstanding at the deadline of 31 August. This was up from just three last year. The AG reported that the South African Airways group was included in these outstanding audits.

The overall picture of audit outcomes in 2016-17 is a wee bit better that previous years. Of the 422 auditees, 30 percent were clean – unqualified with no findings. That amounted to 126 auditees. This compared to 29 percent the previous year (2015-16).

The ‘qualified with findings’ section fell 43 percent, or 179 auditees. This was a wee bit down from 48 percent, or 184, in this category in 2015-16.

However, in the category of ‘qualified with findings’ 72 auditees, or 17 percent, fell into this category. This compared to 61, and 16 percent, in the previous year.

‘Disclaimed with findings’ were just two percent, compared to five percent the previous year.  However, the ‘adverse with findings’ category, was up to two percent, or nine auditees, compared to one percent, or just three auditees, the previous year.

 

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