Politics

Real-time audits to curb wastage of disaster relief funds


Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke says as part of implementing real-time audits, her office will timeously report on how funds aimed at providing relief to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape flood victims are being spent.

Briefing the ad-hoc joint committee on flood disaster relief and recovery on Wednesday, Maluleke said auditors will also keep a closer eye on expenditure related to human settlements and infrastructure, with a particular focus on the temporary residential units, water tanks procurement, food parcels and funeral expenses.

“When we report, we will provide insight on what has been allocated or reprioritised, what is being spent and how that spend is happening.

“We will look at the effectiveness of the programmes, the interventions, including quality of service…” she said.

Her presentation to Parliament comes after she authorised that the Office of the Auditor-General SA (AGSA) should undertake real-time audits of the funds set aside to provide much-needed relief to communities in flood-ravaged areas.

This was in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for flood disaster relief funds meant for the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces to be properly accounted for, and for the State and its people to receive value for money.

Maluleke said to protect resources that were allocated to relief efforts, her office has designed a series of real-time audits and work has already commenced.

She said the role of her office would be to provide independent, timely and credible insight on how funds are being managed.

The Office of the Auditor-General aims to report and share its work in a way that enhances transparency, accountability and good governance, she said.

Maluleke said auditors have shaped a series of real-time audits that respond to key risks relating to procurement and contract management, and the office will not only look at compliance with laws and regulations. It will also extend its audit work to consider matters relating to value for money, whether goods and services have been delivered at the right place, at the right time and at the right quality.

Auditors will also look at whether benefits reached their intended beneficiaries.

Maluleke said accounting officers can take action swiftly so that they protect resources against further fraud or wastage, and they can correct their implementation programmes so that these programmes are rolled out as designed.

Similarly, she said the executives can use the real-time audit’s timely insights, and can use the information to assess how programmes are being implemented so that they can monitor effectively and act and support where required.

She cautioned, however, that real-time audits are not a replacement of the roles and duties of accounting officers, and that the impact of the real-time audits will be felt only if all parts of the oversight mechanism do their part.

“We therefore can never be an obstacle to aid reaching affected citizens.

“There is no way that the AG can stand in the way of a government programme being rolled out. We can advise, we can assist, we can give findings, we can give recommendations, however, the accounting officers remain firmly in charge.

“When we report, we will provide insight on what has been allocated or reprioritised, what is being spent and how that spend is happening. We will look at the effectiveness of the programmes, the interventions, including quality of service…”

Maluleke said the key programmes that the Office of the Auditor-General will focus on will be within the human settlements section, including the construction of temporary residential units.

“We will also look at new houses being built. We will look at infrastructure repair and build effort… we will focus our attention on the water [tank] services, looking at the procurement of the water tanks, the distribution thereof and the installation thereof.

“We will also consider the social relief initiatives, looking at food parcels and funeral expenses, in terms of how those programmes are being managed.

“We will be looking to all the players in the ecosystem to continue to work with us, to ensure that there is effective coordination and collaboration across all of us in the ecosystem.” – SAnews.gov.za



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