By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke said that last year’s irregular expenditure had come down from R66.9 billion to R54.3 billion but that was no reason to celebrate.
She said that 118 auditees or 31% didn't disclose their irregular expenditure.
Maluleke is presenting the audit outcomes of the last financial year.
The AG said the amount could even be higher, as 31% of the auditees were qualified because the amount disclosed was incomplete, or disclosed that they had incurred irregular expenditure but that the full amount was not known.
"If the full irregular expenditure was disclosed there would not have been a decrease from the previous year," she said.
In addition, the AG could not audit R2.08bn-worth of contracts due to missing or incomplete information.
Maluleke said auditees have a "poor track record" when it comes to dealing with irregular expenditure and ensuring accountability.
The year-end balance of irregular expenditure that had accumulated over many years and has not yet been dealt with stood at R262.03bn.
The top 10 contributors to that irregular expenditure that have not been dealt with are:
1. Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa – R27.29bn
2. Gauteng Department of Health – R13.55bn
3. KZN Department of Health – R13.44bn
4. KZN Department of Transport – R12.37bn
5. South African National Roads Agency – R10.90bn
6. Department of Water and Sanitation – R8.94bn
7. North West Department of Health – R8.86bn
8. National Student Financial Aid Scheme – R7.58bn
9. Northern Cape Department of Health – R 6.87bn
10. KZN Department of Education – R6.57bn.
She said that that number did not include Transnet, which had irregular expenditure of R56 billion and Eskom at R11 billion.
Maluleke said that non-compliance included lack of transparency in procurement and continuation of tenders that were not opened to competitive bidding.
The AG noted that there had been little action in addressing the concerns raised year after year about contracts being awarded to employees and their families without the necessary declarations of interest.
"We also found little action being taken to ensure compliance with the Public Service Regulations that prohibits employees of departments from doing business with the state from 1 August 2016," Maluleke said.