Mmabatho: MEC Sello Lehari has lauded the management and the staff of the Department of Community Safety and Transport Management for the 2022/2023 audit outcomes. Though the Department got a qualified audit opinion, there are areas where there is an improvement.
The MEC met the Office of the Auditor General South Africa (AGSA) last week on the outcomes of the last fiscus. There had been material irregularity findings in the past two financial years, which were mainly but not solely due to the flouting of some procurement processes. As with every audit outcome, a corrective action plan was suggested by the AGSA but was not fully complied with.
After meeting the AGSA last year, MEC Lehari committed that there will be an improvement and directed management to ensure corrective action plans are implemented to latter and on time.
“Though we are not as yet where we should be, we are happy with the outcomes of this audit cycle. We set up a project plan to ensure all identified areas that needed urgent interventions were attended to successfully. I applaud management for prudence,” said MEC Lehari.
The AGSA Report on the Department highlights actions that have been taken which were corrective of the previous material irregularities. These actions include legal steps taken against companies that have fraudulently benefitted from the Department. Some of the cases as previously highlighted by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) are still being investigated.
Congratulations on the Internal Control team led by Deputy Director Phillip Motsayathebe, Acting Head of Department, Mpho Maleme, said the team literally went beyond the call of duty to ensure improvement.
“We may not be in a position to thank you on monetary terms, but we are truly proud of your team’s efforts and are grateful for all that you were able to do in order to meet inflexible timelines.
” Motsayathebe was gracious on behalf of the team. Credit should go to management for adopting sound accounting policies, establishing and maintaining internal control systems within the Department and all departmental officials for responding and adhering to timelines set by the Auditor General,” said Maleme.
Other challenges experienced were on scholar transport payments where service providers were not paid within the 30 days’ period as stipulated by Treasury regulations. This is generally due to some service providers who despite numerous reminders sent by the Department, would choose to send invoices quarterly in some instances rather than monthly as required thus leading to accruals.
The Department’s Chief Financial Officer, Kutlwano Phatudi said there was a collective approach by management to ensure a significant improvement.
“Immediately after our meeting with AGSA last year, MEC Lehari met with the then Acting HOD Mr Molefi Morule and directed that we must ensure this year’s audit improves. Mr Morule then met with the Executive Management and guided that we identify material findings that need urgent attention. We thereafter sent a team from Head Office to District Offices to do assessments and necessary corrections”, said Phatudi.
“There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure the Department gets an unqualified report, meaning no material findings in all areas. To achieve this, the EMC (Executive Management Committee) led by the HOD (Head of Department) will need to develop and implement a coordinated post audit action plan to address all issues raised by AGSA and bring on board District managers for judicious management”, said MEC Lehari.