The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Des van Rooyen welcomed the report of the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) showing a good performance by the CoGTA portfolio. “When it comes to doing our work that benefits our communities, the sky can never be our limit, as we have committed to excellence and thus ensuring an effective and efficient functioning CoGTA portfolio. The main element of this commitment is that we always strive to act and manage this portfolio guided by the our laws and policies like the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA),” said Minister.
This work of the AGSA will assist us to strengthen our country’s democracy as it enables oversight, accountability and governance in the public sector through auditing, thereby building public confidence. “As CoGTA, we know that AGSA which has a constitutional mandate and being the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of South Africa, provides a necessary barometer that will go a long way in assisting us to gauge our performance and thus propelling us to improve our work”, said Minister.
The audit looked at the following key areas to which CoGTA portfolio was found to be compliant and competent:
- Fair presentation and reliability of financial statements.
- Reliable and credible performance information for predetermined objectives.
- Compliance with key legislation on financial and performance management.
In terms of the improvement/maintenance, the overall audit outcomes, financial statements and processes, the portfolio’s overall outcomes improved.
- Notably the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) and Commission for the Promotion and protection of the Rights of Cultural and Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) achieving financially unqualified audit outcomes with no material findings on compliance with legislation and predetermined objectives (clean audits).
- Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) and Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) consistently achieved unqualified audit outcomes with material findings on compliance and/or predetermined objectives over the period.
- The AGSA has found that quality of the annual performance plans for the entities improved as MISA does not have material findings on usefulness. On the other hand, South African Local Government Association (SALGA), DTA and CRL consistently provided quality annual performance plans that had no material findings on usefulness.
This important progress and improvement was not automatic, but it is a product of hardwork and commitment by the entire CoGTA portfolio under the capable leadership of Minister van Rooyen. This commitment by the Minister to monitor the implementation of audit action plans, speaks to the successful implementation of interventions put in place to ensure this important results.
The positive results indicates a good culture of accountability and leadership and strengthened oversight of governance and financial management within the CoGTA portfolio. This also shows that the required policies and procedures to ensure consequence management for those who commit fraud and other transgressors are in place. “As CoGTA we believe that accountability and good governance are central to building an efficient, effective and developmental-orientated public service, which are enshrined in our Constitution,” added Minister.
Internal audit and audit committees have contributed towards improved key controls however these governance structures must continue to place intense focus on driving improvement in key controls with the objective of moving the DCoG, MISA and MDB towards clean audit outcomes.
“Even though we welcome this positive and significant improvements of the CoGTA portfolio, a lot of work still lies ahead and we remain committed to turn things around, especially in DCoG and have thus developed plans that will take us to continuous achievements of the clean audits”, said Minister. Focused interventions and commitments are being implemented in a effort to improve the current status of the overall audit outcomes. DCoG, MISA and MDB will as recommended by the AGSA enhance controls to prevent irregular expenditure, whilst DCoG and MISA will also strengthen key controls pertaining to performance information to address the material findings on the usefulness and/or reliability of performance information.
DCoG again received a qualified audit opinion on goods and services as well as accruals and payables not recognised. Further DCOG had material findings on both compliance with legislation and predetermined objectives. The key controls relating to financial and performance management at DCoG will be improved as a matter of urgency to move the department from a qualification to an unqualified audit outcome.
Minister van Rooyen, Deputy Ministers Bapela and Nel thanked team CoGTA for the hard work and dedication to the work.”It is this dedication that has allowed us to achieve this good results”, said Minister. In conclusion, Minister van Rooyen urged the team to continue improving and delivering as expected guided by the regulations and controls geared to ensuring Prudence and avoiding wasteful expenditure.
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CoGTA Head of Communications