Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

The presidency has again been found to have flouted the Public Finance Management Act, Treasury guidelines and preferential procurement regulations.

The auditor-general made similar findings in the past two financial years. The presidency’s 2017/2018 annual report tabled in Parliament last week showed it had incurred irregular expenditure amounting to R33m and fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the tune of R28m.

While the annual report is largely seen as a reflection of the scandal-ridden tenure of former president Jacob Zuma, it will come as a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has been on a drive to clean up government and state-owned entities.

Issues of concern

The presidency received an unqualified audit opinion, but auditor-general Kimi Makwetu identified various issues of concern, including its failure to meet contractual obligations and to settle payments within 30 days.

This raises questions about the presidency’s commitment to the state’s local procurement and supplier development programme. Late payment of suppliers is a major issue afflicting small and medium enterprises.

Effective and appropriate steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure, the auditor-general said.

"The majority of irregular expenditure was caused by nonadherence to Treasury instruction … pertaining to implementation of national travel policy framework.

"Effective steps were not taken to prevent fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Some goods and services of a value above R500,000 were procured without inviting competitive bids, and deviations were approved by the accounting officer but it was practical to invite competitive bids, as required by Treasury regulations," he said.

Additionally, some of the bid documentation for procurement of commodities designated for local content and production did not meet the stipulated minimum threshold for local production and content as required by the 2017 preferential procurement regulations.