Two weeks ago, on the anniversary of the “night of the long knives” that saw Pravin Gordhan recalled from a trip to London and summarily fired as finance minister, the incumbent — Tito Mboweni — issued a short gazette directed at all institutions that are subject to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). The effect of the gazette was to postpone the financial reporting deadlines of all affected entities.

Generally, the financial year-end of such institutions is March 31,  and they have a specified window in which they have to table their annual reports in parliament. The purpose of such reports is to provide insight into how each entity has delivered on its mandate, and what it seeks to do next. The relevance of the time frame is that it facilitates the production and presentation of the information while it is still relevant. The longer the lag between actual performance and the reporting thereof, the less useful the reported information becomes.

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