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Auditor General gives SAA, Mango airlines qualified audits

Auditor General Kimi Makwetu tabled his audit reports in Parliament on Thursday after SAA failed to table its annual report and financial statements within a month of receiving his audit report.

FILE: Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - South African Airways (SAA) and Mango Airlines have both received qualified audit opinions.

Auditor General Kimi Makwetu tabled his audit reports in Parliament on Thursday after SAA failed to table its annual report and financial statements within a month of receiving his audit report, which was delivered in December.

Former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has on two occasions asked for an extension of the deadline for SAA to table its annual report, which was due in September last year.

Makwetu's report casts doubt on SAA's ability to continue as a growing concern.

Makwetu says in his report on SAA that the national carrier posted a net loss of R5,6 billion for the past financial year, significantly up on the R1.5 billion loss it suffered during 2015/16.

Makwetu says significant deficiencies in internal controls formed the basis for his qualified audit opinion on SAA.

His report details a lack of proper record-keeping and systems to ensure accurate financial statements and a failure to take effective steps to measure or prevent irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

He also points to procurement irregularities, including some contracts where he could not find enough evidence to show they were legally awarded.

Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Alf Lees says the audit reports paint "a horrific picture of poor governance and alleged instances of looting".

Lees says Makwetu's findings explain SAA's reluctance to table its annual report, and that he will be writing to new Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to ask him to release SAA's financials "as a matter of urgency".

The government last year gave SAA an emergency R10 billion.