Scopa calls for transparency

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mafikeng - The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) in the North West has expressed concern over failure by the Office of the Premier to lead by example in avoiding fruitless expenditure as described by the Auditor-General Terrence Nombembe in his report tabled in the provincial assembly recently.

The committee also expressed concern that the Premier's office failed to comply with an order to recover an amount of R1 154 000, described by the Auditor-General as "fruitless expenditure" in the report.

The amount had been classified under 'irregular expenditure which arose due to the overspending' of the recommended threshold for performance bonuses.

Director General in the Office of the Premier, Ms Nana Magomola, admitted before the committee that they failed to obtain approval from the executing authority to exceed the1.5 percent threshold recommended by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).

"We will in future ensure that in the awarding of performance bonuses we will not exceed the threshold of 1.5 percent and if unavoidable, we will seek approval from the executing authority," she said.

Scopa pointed out that such behavior should be avoided at all cost.

'"It is the department's responsibility to ensure that objectives were consistent between the annual report, the budget and the strategic plan", said Scopa Chairperson Motlalepule Rosho.

The Office of the Premier were the first to answer questions in a public hearing following queries raised by the Auditor-General in his financial report to the North West Legislature.

This follows the failure of three provincial departments to fulfill their mandate in terms of their financial statements.

The Departments of Health and Social Development received a qualified audit report and the Department of Local Government and Housing has a disclaimer of option.

The departments got qualified audits on their capital asset, unauthorized expenditure, presentation and disclosure.

Mr Nombembe said these departments lacked effective leadership and supervision to monitor their financial management and accounting functions.

He said the provincial Treasury should drive and monitor a provincial action plan that will address key common root causes resulting in negative audit outcomes.

The departments of Agriculture, Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism, Education, Office of the Premier, Public Works, Transport, Roads and Safety, Sport, Arts and Culture received financially unqualified reports.