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Key service delivery departments fail audit test

Twenty-five percent of 469 government departments and entities have received clean audits.

FILE: Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu. Picture: AGSA.

CAPE TOWN - Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu says key service delivery departments, which account for 37 percent of government's spending, are failing the audit test.

Fifteen departments in the health, education and public works sectors have received qualified or disclaimed opinions.

It was today revealed that 469 national and provincial departments as well as public entities have been scrutinised by the Auditor-General this year.

The report covers the audit outcomes of all national and provincial departments and entities for the 2013 to 2014 financial year.

It includes 165 departments and 304 public entities, with a total budgeted expenditure of R1,035 trillion.

Twenty-five percent of 469 government departments and entities have received clean audits.

But Makwetu said they account for a fraction of government's budget.

"Only 15 percent of the total estimates of national expenditure has gone and achieved a clean audit."

He expressed concern over departments in the health, education and public works sectors, all poor performers.

"Where it matters most is whether these same resources and these funds are being protected in the areas that are about making sure they have direct contact with the citizen in respect to the delivery of services."

Irregular expenditure also remains a concern at a whopping R62,7 billion in the year under review.

A further 51 percent of departments and entities received an "unqualified with findings" audit outcome, while 16 percent were qualified with findings, four percent received an adverse or disclaimer audit, while a further four percent did not submit on time.

The report warns that while reporting on performance is improving, South Africa's main service delivery sectors are lagging behind.

"In the education, health, and public works sectors, only six departments reported their performance in a useful and reliable manner."

Further, while the outcomes in most provinces improved, entities and departments audited in Limpopo and the North West had the poorest results.