Auditor General’s Road Show

Response by the honourable Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas, on the occasion of the Auditor General’s Road Show, 08 October 2013, Provincial Legislature at 10h00

Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
Auditor General, Mr Dean Contell
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape Province, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Auditor General and his team for the commendable work that they are carrying out to ensure that we service our communities better.

We view the Office of the Auditor General as a delivery arm of assistance in doing our job to the best of our ability. We have no choice but to up our game by making sure that everybody performs better while delivery of direly needed public services is also greatly improved.

Programme Director, we have to improve our audit outcomes in the province and match that with the delivery of tangible services to our people so that we can tackle the challenges of poverty and unemployment. All of us, whether elected public representatives or senior government officials should take a keen interest in this audit outcomes by ensuring that we comply with all audit requirements.

This requires of us to strengthen our financial management capacity, appoint the right people in the right positions, ensure prudent utilisation of public resources and strive to uphold the principles of transparency and accountability. We will continue to provide decisive leadership to ensure that we adhere to best financial management practices on a daily basis.

As the Provincial Government we commit ourselves to fully work with the Auditor General’s Office on an ongoing basis to detect early signs of administrative or financial distress. We also pledge to correct and implement the recommendations which the Auditor General have suggested so that we improve the efficiency in the utilisation of our resources. Our commitment is informed by the fact that the people of this province deserves better and have access to quality services to improve their lives for the better.

An indicator of good governance is how best public resources are managed by those entrusted with that responsibility.  The Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), Act 1 of 1999 is a key piece of legislation that governs financial management for National and Provincial government.

We are encouraged that for the financial year 2012/2013 there was an improvement in our provincial departments' audit outcomes compared to the previous financial year. Nine (9) out of thirteen (13) departments received an unqualified audit opinion, including one department that received a clean administration audit report.  It is worth mentioning that the Department of Health received a qualified audit opinion after receiving disclaimers for the last ten years.  However, we are mindful of the fact that a lot more needs to be done to realize the goal government has set for itself in attaining clean administration by 2014.

Our major challenge in the province remains high levels of unauthorised and irregular expenditure.  The onus now rests on departments to put tangible measures in place to deal not only with issues raised, but also with a number of administrative issues highlighted by the office of the AG at various intervals that would result in a great surge towards clean administration when addressed seriously.

Checks and balances for all key processes, monthly reporting and validation processes to ensure the credibility of all management information are basic controls which will be implemented, if not already,

Going forward our focus will be on the remaining departments to attain unqualified audit reports through remedial actions including AG action plans compiled at departmental level which are submitted to internal audit for tracking progress on the implementation thereof.  Quarterly meetings with the office of the Auditor General on the dash board reports that prioritises on issues raised in the last audit report, ensures that departments are able to report on its progress of implementation of action plans.

We strongly believe that the strengthened Internal Audit Unit and Audit Committees adds great value in assuring quality in monitoring controls within departments to comply with legislation.

We as a province appreciate the regular engagements that the office of the AG has with our municipal and provincial political leaders to share their assessment of key controls in the areas that pose risks in obtaining clean audits. These engagements assist us in becoming aware of matters that require urgent attention to realise clean administration in all spheres of government.

In Conclusion Programme Director, we reaffirm our commitment to the implementation of the Local Government Turn Around Strategy. The main focus is on the extension of basic services such as potable water, sanitation and electricity. Good governance, sound financial management and the implementation of public participation programmes.

I thank you

 

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