Premier Willies Mchunu addresses KwaZulu-Natal Special Extended Provincial Executive Council meeting

Premier Willies Mchunu reads riot act to heads of department on poor financial controls

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu has warned Heads of Departments, Chief Financial Officers and senior managers that they will be severe consequences for accounting officers who perform poorly and fail to adhere to good financial management practises.

Mchunu, who was addressing accounting officers of the Provincial Government during a Special Extended Provincial Executive Council meeting in Pietermaritzburg yesterday (19 October 2016) said it was the statutory responsibility of accounting officers and all senior managers to maintain effective systems of internal controls.

The meeting was convened to assess the Provincial Audit Outcomes of the Province which were presented to the Executive Council by the Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu last week.

Mchunu said it could not be correct that nobody was being held accountable for failing to achieve clean audits.

I expect senior managers to set the tone regarding the importance of internal controls and expected standards of conduct from employees. If we want to develop a good image of this government, the day-to-day implementation of Operation Clean Audit should not be delegated to CFO’s only. All civil servants must play a role. It cannot be correct that there can be no consequence management for accounting officers who are not able to get their books in order, said Mchunu.

The 2015/16 audit report indicates positive outcomes when compared to the 2014/15 audit outcomes. Unauthorised expenditure had decreased over three years. There was also a slight improvement since the previous year in the number of auditees with no material findings on compliance with key legislation. The AG has also pointed out that there has been a reduction in unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

However the Executive Council remain concerned about the continuous recording of qualified audit opinions received by some provincial departments.

The AG also pointed out that fruitless and wasteful expenditure increased over three years. Litigation and claims caused 94% of the fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

It can no longer be business as usual otherwise we will never get clean audits for all our departments in the province. The failures to manage effectively leads to a perception by the electorate that this is a corrupt government, said Mchunu.

Mchunu said a turnaround strategy would include strengthening monitoring and evaluating mechanisms within the Office of the Premier in order to strengthen accountability measures in all government departments.

We are expecting all HODs to cooperate with this in-built accountability mechanism and to tell us as the Office of the Premier challenges that are being experienced in departments ahead of time so we can work together in finding solutions before we land up with bad audit outcomes. We also expecting all HODS to in line with the inbuilt mechanisms that we will be building in the Premier’s office to also submit action plans on how they plan to turnaround their financial situations so that the province can move towards improving its audit, said Mchunu.

KZN Province ready for matric exams

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Council received a report on the state of readiness for the 2016 National Senior Certificate and the Adult Education and Training Level four examination.

The MEC for Education Mthandeni Dlungwana said all provincial and district examination centres were ready for the matric exams with adequate and efficient invigilators.

In addition adequate transport provision for the writing material had been made and security measures for examination materials was also in place.

KwaZulu-Natal matric prayer

The Department of Education will also on Friday, 21 October 2016 host a prayer for pupils who will be writing matric examinations.

KwaZulu-Natal has been experiencing a decline in its matric results for the past two years thus leading to the provincial government putting in place various strategies to ensure a turnaround for this year’s results.

The Department of Education has ensured adequate support is given to the pupils through the provision of extra classes and recent high flyer boot camps.

The planned prayer which will be held in partnership with the National Interfaith Commission of South Africa (NICSA) is aimed at motivating and demonstrating government’s support to learners during the examination period. The Provincial Executive Council also took the opportunity to wish matriculants the best in their final examinations.

Our young people, educators and parents have worked hard throughout the year to ensure that KwaZulu-Natal is able to improve its matric pass rate. Our government is calling upon the people of KwaZulu-Natal to support matric learners as they write their final examinations. It is important for our young people to remain focused, calm and use smart studying techniques to ensure that they succeed in their examinations. As the provincial government we know that you will seize this opportunity and perform well. We are behind you and you have all our collective support, said Premier Mchunu.

Source: Government of South Africa