Parliament has 'cleaned up its act'
Officials of South Africa’s Parliament boasted on Monday that for the first time since 2003/04 the institution had received a clean bill of financial health from the Auditor General.
There is, according to the secretary of Parliament, Zingile Dingani, who was appointed in June 2004, no qualification and no matter of emphasis in the report.
“We have cleaned up our act,” he said at a media conference called to celebrate Parliament’s good news. “Now our house is clean, we can be more robust in dealing with other departments.”
In the 2003/04 year, Parliament suffered eight qualifications. These were reduced to one in each of the following years.
But even in the present year under review, a number of matters are mentioned in the Auditor General’s report as having been misstated in the original financial statements but corrected after audit. These include a R1,5-million understating of interest income and an understatement of income and receivables by R3,5-million.
The Auditor General also points out a lack of monitoring and control over fixed assets.
Dingani said these matters are normal in the course of an audit, and since they had been put right, Parliament was surprised to see them reflected in the report.
He said that the problem over asset control arose because Parliament was in the middle of a correction following the previous year’s audit report when the auditors arrived and work had to stop. The problem related to the fact that the Department of Public Works is largely responsible for Parliament’s assets.
The chief financial officer of Parliament, Delphine O’Brien, explained that the understatement of income was a management mistake.—I-Net Bridge