Committee Reports on AGSA Annual Report, AGSA Strategic Plan and Oversight Visit to Gauteng

Standing Committee on Auditor General

16 March 2016
Chairperson: Mr V Smith (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Documents Handed Out: 
Committee Minutes: 6 November 2015
Committee Report: Oversight Visit Report to Gauteng
Committee Report on the AGSA 2014/15 Annual Report
Committee Report on the AGSA Strategic Plan and Budget 2014 - 2019
[All Committee Reports available under Tabled Committee Reports once published]

The Committee met to adopt an outstanding set of minutes and a number of Committee reports. Committee minutes of 6 November 2015 were adopted with minor amendments along with a Committee Report on its Gauteng Oversight Visit.

The Committee deliberated on its Committee Report on the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) Annual Report. It reworked two recommendations dealing targets being too low and the staff resources of the AGSA. The report was then adopted with amendments.

The Committee deliberated on its Committee Report on the AGSA Strategic Plan and Budget 2014-2019. Members were of the opinion that more substance and detail was needed to some of the points in the report to make it clearer especially to a first time reader. Members felt that the report needed to be reworked even though there was agreement on the recommendations. After discussion on the implications of non-adoption at this stage on audit tariffs and directives, the message was that these matters would not be affected by delayed adoption. Members would provide inputs on the draft report and a reworked version would be adopted when the Committee met again after the parliamentary recess.


Meeting report

Committee Minutes dated 6 November 2015
The Committee went through the minutes page by page and them without amendments.

Ms D Carter (COPE) asked that minutes be received at least a week after the meeting to keep the content fresh in the minds of Members.

The Chairperson indicated that this could be accommodated.

Committee Report: Oversight Visit to Gauteng (two municipalities and AGSA Office)
The Committee Report was adopted with minor amendments.

Committee Report on the AGSA Annual Report 
The Committee went through the draft report page by page.  

Mr N Singh (IFP) highlighted Recommendation No 3 and questioned whether it should be reworded.  

The Chairperson agreed. 

Mr M Maswanganyi (ANC) noted that this was around the issue of the targets of the AG perhaps being too low – this was a matter raised sharply by the Committee.

The Chairperson added that perhaps the sentiment should be relayed that, as the Committee discussed, no target should be set at 70% or below while, at the same time, it was important that targets were achievable.  

Mr M Ntombela (ANC) noted that this was an issue raised sharply with other departments and entities as well.  

Mr Singh did not know if the Committee could recommend that minimal targets not be set.  

The Committee researcher added that it should apply to a specific output and not generally – targets were informed by baselines and sufficient to the budget, resources and capacity available. 

The Chairperson suggested the recommendation read: “For all targets set, achievement should strive for above 70%” - it was not feasible to recommend a 100% achievement.  

Mr Ntombela said that if 100% was not achieved, an explanation should be provided to the Committee. It should be recognised that targets were also set for bonus purposes and not always in the interests of the country. 

The Chairperson suggested the report read: all targets not achieved must be explained to the Committee or reasons given.  

Mr Singh noted the recommendations were there for future reports and performance.

The Chairperson agreed.

Mr B Topham (DA) highlighted Recommendation No 4 and that resources were provided for by National Treasury. 

The Chairperson agreed that the AG could not be both the referee and the player. He suggested the recommendation read: The AG must deploy his staff in a manner that ensured they were able to perform their tasks – irrespective of the number of staff, the AG must deploy his staff equitably.  

Mr Topham added that the word “outcomes” should be taken out and replaced with “audit performance” – this would make more sense.

The Committee report was adopted with amendments.

Committee Report on the AGSA Strategic Plan and Budget 2014 – 2019
Going through the report, Members noted the pages needed numbering and other minor amendments.

Mr Topham suggested more substance be added to some of the points in order to make the report clearer to a first time reader.  

Ms Carter agreed – if reports lacked detail, a lot of people would not be able to understand them.   

The Chairperson acknowledged this but added that it was a very technical committee which made the matter more difficult.

The Chairperson suggested Members take their time, go through the report and make their amendments before the report is adopted next term – to do so would not be a train smash. Staff would accommodate as many amendments as possible and Members could then look at another draft.  

Mr Singh thought that the only challenge was that the audit tariffs and directives needed to be approved.

Ms Carter suggested the Committee look only at the recommendations and rework the rest of the report at a later stage.

Looking at the recommendations, Mr Topham was not clear on what tariffs were actually being approved – this may be unclear as to what was actually being implemented.  

The Chairperson suggested the recommendation then make specific reference to the page of the AG's strategic plan where the tariffs were discussed.  

The Chairperson asked if the Committee approved the recommended audit tariffs, directives and overall conclusion of the Committee Report.

A Member suggested the Committee Report be adopted with a proviso that some sections would be reworked.  

Ms Carter disagreed – to take a Committee report to the House that was not entirely satisfactory, would be a reflection on the Committee of sloppy work. She recommended items 4, 5 and 6 be carried forward. 

Members were concerned about the implications of non-adoption on audit tariffs and directives in light of today being the last sitting of the House for business before recess.

Mr Singh suggested the Chairperson contact the Office of the Auditor-General and ascertain the implications on audit tariffs and directives if the Committee adopted the report next term. He knew the budget would not be affected.  

The Chairperson indicated he would do so and look at the Act. If it meant the Committee would need to reconvene after the sitting of the House, that would be done. He could not see Parliament being solely responsible. If it was not a problem, the Committee would adopt the reworked report when the new term started.

[Later: After discussing the matter with the Office of the Auditor-General, the Committee ascertained that there was still a grace period and the Committee could adopt the reworked report when the new parliamentary term began in April].

The meeting was adjourned.



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