South African’s National Liberation Movement
The ANC lauds the Government and the AG for the improvement of government audits
The African National Congress has welcomed the overall improvement in the Auditor General’s National and Provincial Audit Outcomes for 2022/23, following a trend over the past four years. The consolidated audit report shows a significant improvement in the number of unqualified audits, with a 13% increase since the previous administration’s final year (2018/19).
In the latest audit period of 2022/23, the number of unqualified outcomes rose from 273 to 309, indicating that the tide is turning towards better fiscal management and responsibility. We applaud the hard work and commitment of all public servants involved in ensuring transparent and accountable financial practices in the public sector.
We welcome the positive trend in the rise of clean audits that has continued to increase every year as testament of giving transparent and credible accounts of finances against set targets in compliance with relevant legislation. The annual report revealed that 37 audits had been improved to attain “clean audit” status, while 110 audits were reported to have sustained the “clean audit” status. The report emphasized that the government’s planning, budgeting, monitoring, and reporting processes have been meticulously designed.
The AG reports have included the legislature sector, highlighting the critical role of Parliament and provincial legislatures in the accountability ecosystem. This sector has achieved outstanding audit outcomes, with 100% of the audits achieving unqualified outcomes and 90% of these outcomes achieving clean audit status.
The ANC has noted significant improvements in the audit outcomes of financial statements that have been completed. The percentage of unqualified audit opinions has increased from 71% in 2018/19 to an impressive 80% in 2022/23. Furthermore, the percentage of performance reports with no material findings has increased from 59% in 2018/19 to 71% in 2022/23.
The report has highlighted that nine out of ten auditees in the legislative sector are well-positioned to provide credible oversight of national and provincial government’s actions and financial practices, ensuring accountability for government performance and spending.
It’s worth noting that the provincial government plays a significant role in implementing the government’s service delivery priorities, and the report highlights a gradual upward trend in provincial audit outcomes over the term of this administration. Fifty-five provincial departments audited have improved, while 11 have regressed over this period, with the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng among the provinces with the most clean audits.
On a positive note, the ANC is pleased with the progress made in Primary Health care facilities, with many achieving ideal clinic status by 31 March 2023. This includes ANC-led provinces like Gauteng, KZN, MP, Free State, and North West, which have reported impressive achievements. For instance, Gauteng has achieved 97% ideal clinic status, while KZN, MP, Free State and North West have achieved 93%, 81%, 71%, and 67% ideal clinic status, respectively.
The ANC is concerned about the reported underspending by some government departments, Provinces, and Municipalities especially on critical areas of service delivery.
The underspending in government departments and entities does not only affect the ability of the departments and entities to achieve the targets of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework of government, but it also impacts on the delivery of the manifesto of the governing party and by extension, the commitments the ANC has made to the people of South Africa.
The observations by the Auditor General on the need to improve service delivery planning, reporting and oversight, infrastructure management, and ensure prudence in spending must therefore be seen as key to continuously moving towards developmental and clean governance.
The ANC in Parliament and Provincial Legislatures will continue to enhance its robust oversight and ensure accountability by the executive to address perennial challenges for better service provision outcomes and impact.
We welcome the progress in addressing Material Irregularities, with 1.29 bn financial loss recovered, 560 million in financial loss prevented and 700 million in financial losses in the process of being recovered. This is a testament to the impact of the Public Audit Act amendment by Parliament, which came into effect on 1 April 2019.
Finally, the report notes that there has been a consistent drive to improve and sustain good financial reporting disciplines, such as regular reviews and good monitoring processes by management and governance structures. One of the great feats of our democracy is that we objective and independent institutions like the auditor general which provides clear, comprehensive and objective report, and these are tools we can rely on to improve governance in all areas where we govern.
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
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