The Auditor-General’s office has identified 28 irregularities nationwide in the 2018/2019 financial year amounting to R2.81 billion.
The AG’s office is using its new powers to reduce corruption. It has the power to issue a certificate of debt where an accounting officer has failed to recover losses from people or companies.
During the first phase, 28 material irregularities were identified.
Free State Human Settlements leads with 10 irregularities. It’s followed by rail agency Prasa with 9.
AG Office Business Executive Charles Baloyi says those responsible will be forced to act on the recommendations.
“It’s not going to be business as usual, where they just do not act on these recommendations. If you don’t act on recommendations, you might end up paying because you are failing in your responsibilities as an accounting officer as required by Section 35 of the PFMA and also Section 62 of MFMA.”
Political Analyst Asanda Saule Ngoasheng agrees, saying it is only when those found to have transgressed the law are punished, then things will start changing.
“If accountants are able to falsify reports and flout auditing rules with no consequences, then nothing is going to change. So, the AG and the treasury working together hold the possibility of some accountability. It holds the possibility of some financial managers understanding that they have a fiduciary role that they need to take seriously, that they have a role that they need to do properly otherwise there are going to be personal consequences.”
The office says the second phase is already underway, and it will include 89 audits.