The Auditor General said this when he briefed journalists on the audit outcomes for the 2015/16 financial year at the Imbizo Centre in Parliament on Wednesday.
National and provincial government departments, as well as their entities, are bound by the Public Finance Management Act, and the Auditor General audits them based on the reliability of their financial statements, credible reporting on service delivery and compliance with key legislation.
“We have noted an improvement in the number of clean audits that have been achieved,” Makwetu said.
Makwetu’s consolidated report covers a total of 484 auditees – made up of 169 national and provincial departments and 315 public entities with a total budget of R1.2 trillion for the year under review.
Releasing the results, Makwetu said over a three-year period – from 2013/14 to 2015/16 – 24% of the auditees improved their audit results, while 14% regressed.
He said the results of 62% of the auditees remained unchanged over the period under review.
Makwetu said it was encouraging to note that the number of auditees that received financially unqualified opinions with no findings, which are commonly known as clean audits, increased overall from 122 in 2013 to 152 in 2015/16.
He was, however, quick to caution that 13 departments and 19 public entities that had performed well previously lost their clean audit status in 2015/16.
The audit outcomes, the Auditor General said, were testament to leadership efforts in accelerating the pace of dealing with internal control shortcomings of prior years.
“Accelerating the pace basically requires auditees to constantly and properly perform the basics my office has persistently pointed out to leadership over a while now.
“These doable actions include auditees implementing plans to address shortcomings in financial controls based on commitments already made, providing effective leadership and monitoring achievement of performance targets, as well as reviewing and monitoring compliance with key laws and legislation over financial matters,” he said.
Departments with clean audits
According to the Auditor General’s report, national departments that were given clean audits include the Government Communication and Information System, the newly established Department of Communications, Department of Energy, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Public Service and Administration, Social Development, Sport and Recreation, Statistics South Africa and Tourism.
At a provincial level, departments that obtained clean audits include the Eastern Cape provincial Treasury and Safety and Liaison Department.
In the Free State, the Provincial Legislature received a clean audit. In Mpumalanga, four departments – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Economic Development and Tourism, Provincial Treasury and Social Development – got clean audits.
In Gauteng, seven departments – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, e-Government, Economic Development, Office of the Premier, Provincial Legislature, Provincial Treasury and Social Development – got unqualified audits with no findings.
Only one department – Finance – got a clean audit in KwaZulu-Natal.
Four departments in the Northern Cape – the Office of the Premier, Provincial Legislature, Provincial Treasury and Social Development – got clean audits.
In the North West, the Economic and Enterprise Development and Provincial Treasury Departments got clean audits.
In the Western Cape, 13 departments – Agriculture, Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport, Department of the Premier, Economic Development and Tourism, Education, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Human Settlements, Local Government, Provincial Treasury, Social Development, Transport and Public Works and the Western Cape Provincial Parliament – got clean audits.