Cabinet is concerned at the increase in irregular expenditure by government departments and their entities‚ shown in Auditor General Kimi Makwetu’s latest report‚ and is willing to take all measures necessary to improve financial controls.
This is according to Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe who briefed media in Parliament on Thursday morning on cabinet’s meeting. Makwetu announced an almost 80% surge in irregular expenditure to more than R46 billion.
Radebe said while the 8% overall improvement in audit outcomes among departments and entities should not be ignored‚ failure to spend finances and procure by the book left the door open for conflicts of interest.
“We are worried about the audit outcomes. We are taking measures to curb the impact… and improve controls. There has been an improvement. Ministers are being called upon to ensure that these failings do not reoccur‚” said Radebe.
Members of Parliament in the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Standing Committee on the Auditor General offered their support to Makwetu in efforts to review the law to make his office’s recommendations binding.
Radebe said this conversation has not taken place at a cabinet level but pledged cabinet’s support in efforts to improve the financial management and audit outcomes of the 484 auditees‚ including 196 national and provincial departments as well as 315 public entities.
“We have not discussed the AG’s powers as cabinet. Any measure that will bring about the improvement of financial controls will be welcomed. The AG briefs us thoroughly as cabinet and we need to go beyond the call of duty to heed what the Auditor General is saying‚” he said.