DA Northern Cape Leader
082 383 6914
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is of the view that the Treasury’ reluctance or inability to properly set-up crucial internal audit functions, including an Internal Audit Committee, invites a culture of unaccountability in the Department, and opens the door to corruption.
The Auditor-General (A-G) gave the Treasury an unqualified audit outcome, however raised major concerns regarding the overall governance of the department.
Serious concerns were highlighted by the A-G, one of which is the Department running up just over R55 million of irregular expenditure. The DA finds it unacceptable that the Treasury had under-spent it’s budget by R15 319 000, with the bulk of the under-spending having resulted from the Treasury having not filled vacant funded posts which “resulted in under-spending on compensating employees by R7 417 000.
Indeed the DA is of the view that the Human Resource Department at the Treasury has a lot of accounting to do, as the A-G paints a picture of highly dubious practices and seemingly unlawful conduct related to the methods the Department uses to make appointments. The most concerning revelation in the A-G report is that, “audit evidence could not be obtained that appointments were made in posts that were advertised”, which is a requirement by law. So who exactly are these people that were hired by Treasury with their posts not being advertised? Is this a crony network being hired to work in Treasury, under MEC. John Block?
The DA finds it ominous that the lack of internal oversight and culture of unaccountability seemed to have run deeper in the Treasury. It begs the question of how, MEC. John Block, allowed a situation whereby his department, which handles the finances of the provinces had an Internal Audit Committee in complete disarray, with the A-G citing that the “internal audit function was not under the control of the audit committee”. This is a clear violation of law and sound governance.
The lack of internal oversight and control could have opened up the door to corrupt activity, as the A-G raises concerns about unlawful procurement practices which saw the Department procure goods and services under R500 000 without “obtaining required price quotations”, and also procuring goods and services in excess of R500 000 “without inviting competitive bids”.
In light of the shocking governance practices of the year under review, we thus welcome the appointment of Mr. Johan van Tonder, as the Head of the Internal Audit Unit, to hopefully bring order back to this vital function.
The DA welcomes the commitment made by the Treasury Director-General today that his Department will strive for not only an unqualified audit for next year, but that all other findings would be rectified. However we would implore him to extend this stance to all other Departments in the Provincial Government, as the Treasury has the oversight responsibility over them. This includes tackling the serial under-performers like the Health Department, whose finances can be described as being in the ICU.