Auditor-general (AG), Kimi Makwetu, today reported that the relief package redirected by government as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, “landed in a weak control environment”.
After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in South Africa, the government announced a R500 billion package for the health response and the relief of social and economic distress caused by the drastic measures that had to be taken to contain the spread of the virus. The fiscal relief package is funded by reprioritising the 2020-21 budgets and securing loans.
On request of the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, Makwetu’s office has undertaken a real-time audit of 16 of the key Covid-19 initiatives introduced by the government and the management of R147,4 billion of the funds made available for these initiatives.
This report represents the first in a series of reports that will deal with the financial management of the government’s Covid-19 initiatives, covering R68,9 billion (47%) of the R147,4 billion spending. The audit work per this report is for all expenditure up to and including 31 July 2020.
Giving context to this special audit, Makwetu remarked that “emergency responses and quick actions are required to save lives and livelihoods, but the easing of controls and the streamlining of processes and procedures to respond to the crisis, expose the government to the risks of the misuse or abuse of public resources.
“We have been reporting on and warning about poor financial management controls, a disregard for supply chain management legislation, an inability to effectively manage projects and a lack of accountability in many of the government sectors that now need to lead or support the government’s efforts,” said the AG.
Read the full press release below: