'Govt must investigate abuse of funds'

The AG report revealed R25.7 billion in irregular spending by government departments.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Auditor General Kimi Makwetu has encouraged government departments to carry out thorough investigations into possible abuse of funds after his report revealed R25.7 billion in irregular spending in the past financial year.

The report indicates that there's been a reduction in the value of fruitless and wasteful expenditure, but it still amounts to a whopping R936 million rand for the year.

Makwetu says the numbers can be reduced.

"The essence of the irregular expenditure is saying to those that are charged with governance, 'Take action, take note of these matters and investigate them so you can get to the bottom of what is at the core of it. Once you have established that you will know what actions to take'."

The AG says while there's been a slight improvement in audit results for government departments, spending can be controlled if proper processes are followed.

"If one summarises it, it's expenditure incurred in vain. No one can say it's uncontrollable, it is controllable. Pay attention when you do things, otherwise they attract costs."

The report on irregular expenditure may expose those in departments who are abusing the system.

It revealed that 72 percent of national and provincial departments did not obtain clean audits. However, this is a 2 percent improvement compared to the previous period.

Makwetu says the top performing provinces with clean audits were the Western Cape and Gauteng.