The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) has received an unqualified audit opinion for the third year in a row, suggesting it has made a clean break with its troubled past. TIA was launched in 2009 in an attempt to improve the rate at which local research is turned into commercial products and services, and is the government’s key funding mechanism for stimulating technological innovation. It initially struggled to merge the seven institutions that fell under its mantle, and then ran into serious governance issues. TIA’s first head, Simphiwe Duma, was fired for gross misconduct in the wake of a Deloitte forensic investigation, which found a TIA-funded project had been housed on land owned by the then board chairperson, Mamphela Ramphele. TIA’s 2016-17 annual report, tabled in Parliament earlier this month, shows it not only received a clean bill of health from its auditors but also improved its internal systems, including its processes for assessing scheduled grant applications. Its t...

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