The Department of Basic Education (DBE) reported that the 2016/17 budget was R22.4 billion and R21.4 billion was actually spent, i.e. 95.82%. The Department received an unqualified audit opinion. The Auditor General did not identify any material findings on the performance information for Programme 2 Curriculum policy, Support and Monitoring, and Programme 5 Educational Enrichment Services. Programme 4 Planning, Information and Assessment received a qualified opinion.
DBE 2016/17 performance per programme was as follows:
• Programme 1: Administration - all three targets were achieved.
• Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring - had 16 targets, of which 13 were achieved and three were partially achieved.
• Programme 3: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development had eight targets, achieving six and two were unachieved.
• Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment had 13 targets with five achieved, three partially achieved and four were unachieved.
• Programme 5: Educational Enrichment had four targets, three were achieved and one partially achieved.
Members asked why the South African National Curriculum Framework for children from birth to four years of age was versioned into ten official languages for a two week workshop that involved 28 language experts; why were material misstatements found in Programme 2 and Programme 4 by Auditor-General SA; why DBE did not correct these misstatements that AGSA communicated to it; the difference in underexpenditure cited by AGSA and that cited by DBE; how ready DBE was for registration next year; why textbook retrieval was only 85%; what strategies were in place to retrieve the other 15% of textbooks across the provinces, because the textbooks were distributed during registration; was the school governing body or principal responsible for the appointment of security personnel for school premises; was sign language considered for language diversity; what was the status of the approximate 600 Mathematics Focused Schools in the Eastern Cape; were fraudsters arrested and what strategies were enforced by DBE to retrieve funds fraudulently taken; when will the vacancies be filled in DBE, especially key roles, and a timeframe was requested; why was there a discrepancy between AGSA and DBE cited totals for wasteful and fruitless and irregular expenditure; ECD was prioritised in the country but was DBE aware of the enormity of the need in terms of number of child citizens five years and younger and practitioners that required training; were all South African citizens literate, if not, why close the program that enabled adult literacy; if the Second Chance matriculants failed again, where would they go thereafter;
Members said the unspent budget was a concern, would the unused funds be found in the bank or was it merely a theoretical reflection; why had DBE failed to follow the prescribed format of Section 40(1)(a) and (b) of the PFMA; who appoints the contractors and/or implementing agencies (IA) who do not complete work according to standards and specifications; who was responsible for verifying the capabilities and track record of the IA before awarding a contract, since the incompetence in awarding contracts to competent contractors was a grievous cause of delay; why were there deviations from the Annual Performance Plan (APP); whether the report was a true reflection of DBE achievements; who was responsible for verifying the capabilities and track record of the IA before awarding it a contract, since its incompetence was a grievous cause of delay; what was the current progress with Department of Sports about exercise and extra-mural sporting activities; state of readiness for the NSC examination especially in light of the recent KZN storm; what effort had DBE made since the October 2016 recommendation to work with Department of Transport and repair a broken bridge in the Eastern Cape that learners relied on; interventions to ensure that the nutritional intake of learners was not disadvantaged due to the drought; why the audit stated that oversight and monitoring over financial and performance reporting of infrastructure projects was inadequate.
Members said the Annual Report presentation should reflect not only achievements but include the challenges facing DBE as well. They asked why DBE and AGSA had differing amounts for irregular expenditure. The recurring audit outcomes were a concern, specifically the irregular expenditure in Supply Chain Management which was a focus area for corrupt practices, and played a prominent role in what was now known as State Capture. Another concern was the ongoing investigations that seemed never-ending, as well as resolving previous years’ audit findings. The sexual assault of 87 learners at a school sparked off many questions by Members about School Safety across the system which must be addressed as appropriately as possible.
The Chairperson highlighted the safety concerns at schools in light of the alleged sexual assaults that pupils had endured.
Department of Basic Education 2016/17 Annual Report
Mr Mathanzima Mweli, Director General: DBE, opened by noting State readiness for the National Senior Certificate Examinations was well underway.
Ms Nthabiseng Montsho, Director: Strategic Planning and Reporting, gave an overview of DBE performance:
* Seventy-two Mathematics, Science and Technology schools were visited for monitoring and support.
* The number of learners passing Matric at Bachelor level stood at 162 374 in the 2016 NSC examinations. The NDP proposes a target of 450 000 learners passing Grade 12 at Bachelor level by 2030 with the milestone of 300 000 Bachelor by 2024.
* The Funza Lushaka bursary allocation from the National Treasury for 2016/17 was R1 043 611 000.
* A total of 14 343 Funza Lushaka bursaries have been awarded for initial teacher education, thereby exceeding the target of 14 000 by 343.
* Enrolment of children aged 7 to 15, which has been well above 95% for at least a decade, has moved closer to 100%.
* The DBE, in collaboration with the provincial officials, intervened and provided mobile classrooms for the benefit of the learners in Vuwani, Limpopo. The National Treasury approved R177 098 000 which went towards the maintenance of the schools that were set alight.
* A total of 3 989 900 Grade R workbooks were printed and delivered to 16 523 public schools.
* A total of 2 602 Grade R Practitioners were supported and 7 674 still needs to be supported. 5 291 of the 23 390 (22.6%) have NQF level 6 qualifications.
* A total of 56 485 345 Volume 1 and 2 Grade 1 -9 workbooks were printed and delivered to 23 543 public schools.
* 242 employees attended twenty -nine (29) Skills Development and Training programmes.
* 951 promissory letters have been issued to students recruited through the district and community -based teacher recruitment programmes.
* As at 31 March 2017, 67% (2 599 of 3 822) graduates were placed in posts.
* A total of 180 teacher education programmes were evaluated during 2016/17.
* A total of 177 019 educators signed up for participation in the Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) Management System.
* Professional Learning Communities (PLC) training was conducted in eight (8) provinces (Western Cape excluded). A total of 750 Subject Advisors and Lead Teachers were trained.
* Teacher Union Collaboration (TUC): 19 616 (89%) teachers of the target of 22 000 were trained.
* Universal coverage of Learning and Teaching Support Materials (LTSM) is at 93% and retention and retrieval of LTSM is at 85%.
* A total of forty -four (44) schools were supplied with Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) resources such as laptops, tablets and software for Mathematics, Science and Technology curriculum to support curriculum and teaching methodology.
* A total of 223 workshops were supplied with equipment, tools and machinery for Technology to support curriculum and practical teaching methodology at Further Education and Training (FET) level.
* A total of 296 Physical Sciences Laboratories were supplied with consumables and subject -related apparatus to support curriculum and practical teaching methodology.
* ASIDI accumulated numbers since inception:
o Replacement of inappropriate schools: 179 delivered: sixteen (16) in 2016/17;
o Sanitation: 425 delivered: nine (9) in 2016/17;
o Water: 615 delivered: ten (10) in 2016/17;
o Electricity: 306 delivered: zero (0) in 2016/17.
* The 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) report was released on 29 November 2016. For the first time South Africa participated in TIMSS Grade 5 Mathematics. The results are as follows:
o Grade 5 Mathematics 2015: 376 (3.4);
o Grade 9 Mathematics 2015: 372 (4.5); and
o Grade 9 Science 2015: 358 (5.6).
* In the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ 4), learners showed significant improvement, with an increase by sixty -three (63) points in Reading and ninety -two (92) points in Mathematics.
* The total number of candidates who registered for the 2016 NSC Examinations was 828 020, up from 799 306 in 2015.
* The examination was written by a total number of 610 178 full -time and 107 793 part -time candidates.
* Of the full -time candidates, who wrote the examination, 442 672 attained the NSC, which constitutes a 72.5% pass rate.
* The overall results for the 2016 Supplementary Examinations indicated that there was an improvement in the results of all provinces. The overall pass rate had increased from 70.7% to 72.1%.
* The total number of candidates that achieved the NSC had increased by 10 131 candidates and the number of candidates that obtained admission to Bachelor’s studies had increased by 1 313 compared to the previous year.
* The DBE provided daily nutritious meals to 20 300 primary, secondary and special schools nationally, reaching an average of 9 045 049 learners.
The 2016/17 Annual Performance per programme were as follows:
* Programme 1: Administration - had three targets that were fully achieved.
* Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring - had 16 targets, of which 13 were achieved and three were partially achieved.
* Programme 3: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development - had eight targets, achieving six fully and two were unachieved.
* Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment - had 13 targets that fully achieved five, partially achieved three and four was unachieved.
* Programme 5:Educational Enrichment Services - had four targets, of which one was partially achieved; yet the three were fully achieved.
Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa, Chief Financial Officer: DBE, DBE, A total of R22 413 461 was appropriated; R21 476 064 was actually spent that was 95.82%, resulting in a deviation of R937 397. The appropriation per programme were as follows:
* Programme 1: Administration - was Appropriated R419 000; Actual Expenditure was R418 301 that caused a Variance of R699.
* Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring - were Appropriated R1 877 954; Actual Expenditure was R1 826 691that caused a Variance of R51 263.
* Programme 3: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development - were Appropriated R1 179 040; Actual Expenditure was R1 177 397 that caused a Variance of R1 643.
* Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment - - was Appropriated R12 594 706; Actual Expenditure was R11 719 953 that caused a Variance of R874 753.
* Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services - were Appropriated R6 342 761; Actual Expenditure was R6 333 722 that caused a Variance of R9 039.
The Audit Outcomes Report by the Auditor-General was outlined. AGSA gave DBE an unqualified audit with findings (see document). Emphasis was made on fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R11.157 million. The amount of R42 755 was part of R44 million disclosed as Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure from the previous year. Investigations revealed that it was not Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure. AGSA agreed that it should be removed. It was moved to Irregular Expenditure, as the policy used to pay stipends to volunteers on a sliding scale was not approved at the correct level of Accounting Officer. R11.157 million was new Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure incurred on the Kha Ri Gude programme. DBE through internal investigation discovered that some Kha Ri Gude classes did not have learners and others had learners who had Matric. The cases have been reported to the relevant authorities. AGSA did not identify any material findings for Programme 2 – Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring and Programme 5 – Educational Enrichment Services. Programme 4 – Planning, Information and Assessment received a qualified audit opinion
Mr C Hattingh (DA, North West) noted that it was reported that the South African National Curriculum Framework for children from birth to four years of age was versioned into ten official languages for a two-week workshop that involved 28 language experts. Which language was isolated? If so, was it due to the lack of expertise? Secondly, the Annual Report was a showcase document reflecting achievements, as opposed to indicating the equilibrium between challenges and accomplishments. The Annual Report should be transparent of the Basic Education sector, inclusive of challenges faced in the country.
He said the Select Committee has had to look elsewhere to garner insight. For instance, the report by AGSA had induced doubt on the credibility of the DBE presentation. AGSA had identified material misstatements in the Annual Financial Statements submitted for auditing. DBE spent the bulk of the presentation on those programmes without explicitly noting that AGSA found material misstatements in Programme 2 - Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring and Programme 4 - Planning, Information and Assessment. This poses the question - why were material misstatements found by AGSA? Subsequently, management had only corrected only some of these. This stance had cast doubt on the Annual Report, as well as the intention by management in the way it presented information. AGSA had communicated misstatements it found to DBE, yet DBE chose not to correct them - why was this so? Admittedly, it was heard in the past that AGSA was either mistaken or other sorts of challenges justified faults. However, AGSA was always right as material proof that it was mistaken was yet required. Although some light was shed on the amount of irregular expenditure, the recurring audit outcomes were concerning, specifically the irregular expenditure spent via Supply Chain Management. It was known that Supply Chain Management was a focus area of those who attempted corrupt practices, and it played a prominent role in what was now known as State Capture. Another concern was the ongoing investigations that seemed never-ending, as it continued from the previous years’ audit findings. Additionally, no action on the previous year’s irregular expenditure appears to have taken place. If action had taken place, a report should be submitted to the Committee noting the remedial action, number of persons held accountable and the consequences. Lastly, what was the difference in the underexpenditure cited by AGSA of R874 million, as opposed to the figure cited by DBE?
Ms T Mpambo - Sibhukwana (DA, Western Cape) asked:
• Why the textbook retrieval process was marked at 85%. How ready was DBE for registration for next year? What strategies were in place for the missing 15% of textbooks across the provinces, because the textbooks were distributed during registration?
• DBE should update the Committee on the reported cases of alleged sexual assault. The Department had been silent about the consequences, if any, of those that were accused.
• Who appointed the security personnel for school premises? Was the School Governing Body responsible for the task or was it within the scope of the School Principal? What remedial strategies did DBE put in place on receipt of the news of sexual assault? Additionally, who appointed the SAPS officers on the premises? It was saddening that 87 pupils were sexually assaulted at a school.
• The concern about language diversity was noted; however was sign language considered? If sign language was omitted, it should be included in the future, due to compliance with the UN Convention. It was a concern that DBE had not sufficiently incorporated the twelfth official language, i.e. sign language.
• Safety on school premises was worryingly appalling, particularly with the incidents in Limpopo and Gauteng. The Department should submit a report that specifically deals with safety on school premises in each province to the Select Committee. Raping of learners was an issue that required school safety across the system. Parents and guardians do not send their children to school to be harmed, but to receive schooling, which assumes safety is guaranteed and not for them to be at high risk. Should offences of this magnitude of psychological trauma and human rights violations be allowed fester, what can be expected during the schooling years of the next generation? It must be addressed as appropriately as possible. The most likely initial reaction of parents of children who were victimized is denial. Denial might be a natural response, due to its far-fetched nature, but such stance will merely compound the silent epidemic of sufferers.
• What was the status of the approximately 600 Mathematics Focused Schools in the Eastern Cape?
• Were fraudsters arrested and the stolen finances paid back? What strategies were enforced by DBE to retrieve funds that were fraudulently taken?
• When will the vacancies be filled in DBE, especially key roles, and what was the timeframe for this recruitment? Would those vacancies be filled by the end of March 2018?
• The disruption experienced in Limpopo could have impeded on the state of readiness for examinations. What was the state of preparedness for examinations?
• Could DBE account for the AGSA and DBE discrepancy between the Fruitless and Wasteful and Irregular Expenditure totals?
Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga) appreciated the quality of schools being built in the rural areas, as there was no difference between these and those built within urban areas. Having said that, this did not presuppose that there were no challenges within the education sector.
• The Director General should highlight the significance of the Strategic Planning Unit in DBE, due to its need to monitor the other DBE branches’ compliance to Strategic Planning. The Strategic Planning Unit was quite “underplayed”, because other government officials could take offence at the measures of verification by another branch at a similar level. However, it was advisable that the unit was invested in that should an unprecedented role of a DDG be required, it must be made possible.
• The DBE presentation was a list of accomplishments without any mention of obstacles. It was expected that the presentation encompass the expectations against the achievements, as a means of reviewing the extent of the success.
• During Committee oversight visits in the Eastern Cape, it was discovered that multiple Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners were untrained, especially for child care of children younger than five years. Not only had they lacked training, but there was a curriculum lacking as well. Due to the prioritisation of ECD within the country, was DBE aware of the enormity of the need, that is, the number of child citizens five years and younger, as well as the number of practitioners that required training? Even though the topic today is the Annual Performance, cognisance should be taken that the majority of untrained ECD practitioners in the Eastern Cape.
• Are all South African citizens literate? If not, why close the program that enabled adult literacy?
• If the Second Chance matriculants failed again, where would they need to go thereafter?
• Scholar transport in the Eastern Cape was a major concern. The number cited for scholar transport was not compliant with government policy. In Mpumalanga, children that reside on farms wake at 3am to walk a considerable distance before they reach the point of pick -up for the transport. Those pupils should receive scholar transport that accommodates a smaller number of them at a time, so it can collect them from their place of residence. This would prevent the current exposure to hardship they undergo whilst they walk to the pick -up point. This includes non-conducive pathways, and more importantly, intimidation by racist farmers since the children are obliged to pass through other farms on the way. Farmers on those other farms had threaten to shoot the children, which was alarming and required urgent attention.
• Unspent funds were a concern. Are the unused funds in the bank or was it merely a theoretical reflection?
• The audit outcomes report was sometimes a contradiction of actual performance, because an institution could acquire a clean audit for its financial operations yet falter to achieve its performance targets.
• The variations in the fruitless and wasteful expenditure were concerning. During the audit, AGSA would request additional documentation if necessary, thus the final audit outcome entailed the responses or lack thereof by DBE. The Department was, therefore, involved throughout the process of the audit. Hence, it was a matter of contention that DBE conducted an investigation and even has a different report from AGSA. What value does your report have compared to the AGSA audit report? The AGSA audit report is the official outcome - right or wrong? Should errors be discovered thereafter, AGSA would publicly announce the corrections. However, in the interim, the AGSA report will be accepted as the official one.
• Sign language was underappreciated in South Africa, even though there were initiatives to advocate its use as a twelfth official language. However, it was agreed with DBE that sign language should be official government policy that legitimately recognizes it as the twelfth official language of South Africa.
• The audit outcome trends were quite satisfactory, but the provinces of the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga were of concern. For the past four to five years, Eastern Cape had received a qualified audit and Mpumalanga had received a qualified audit for the past three years. The root causes for the qualified audit qualification in those provinces requires investigation.
The Chairperson appreciated the presentation, but reiterated the concern about the sexually assaulted learners. The Director General in his opening remarks was cautious by focusing on state readiness for the National Senior Certificate Examinations, as opposed to commenting on this ordeal, but safety within the academic environment could not be ignored. As parents, educators and general members of the community, it was a collective concern that children returned unharmed and not traumatized after a day at school.
• The financial statements submitted for auditing were not prepared in accordance with the prescribed financial reporting framework nor supported by full and proper records as required by Section 40 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Why had DBE failed to do this? Why had this even occurred, since it was presumed that experienced qualified professionals were handling the finances?
• The Annual Report on page 242, point 36 of the letter by AGSA cites, “Oversight and monitoring over financial and performance reporting of infrastructure projects was inadequate”. Why was it inadequate? It was understood that in some provinces there was the challenge of lack of expertise on infrastructure development existed, but why was there inadequate monitoring overall? Point 40 by AGSA notes: “Internal Audit was not fully involved in the review and monitoring of financial and performance information”. What was the strength of the internal audit committee? Why had the Internal Audit Committee failed DBE in monitoring? - The amount for Fruitless and Wasteful expenditure was much too high. It was alarming that individuals were non-compliant with the legislation. The Heads of the various branches should ensure that expenditure correctly ensued. If a branch was not complying with the legislation, what would the Head of the Branch do about consequence management?
• There was a contradiction in the reporting of ASIDI figures that was displeasing. There was a lack of reconciliation, because close to the end of the ASIDI report the figure given for completed projects was much higher compared to its earlier mention. These were for issues of electricity, water and sanitation. The Committee’s oversight visits had surfaced the challenge of lack of proper sanitation facilities at many schools. Could the CFO reconcile the confusion?
• Contractors not completing work according to standards and specifications raises the question of who conducts the appointment of the contractors and/or implementing agencies (IA)? The frequent replacement of IAs during the execution of projects caused delays to the completion of the project. This was because the current contract would need investigation before termination, then advertisement for a new tender, which resulted in much time elapsing. Who was responsible for verifying the capabilities and track record of the IA before awarding the contract, since its incompetence was a grievous cause of delay? Verification should be conducted and assured before the contractors were officially appointed.
• It was presumed that DBE would have mastered planning its Annual Performance Plan (APP) so that positive deviations, if any, might be more likely than negative deviations. The execution of the APP should be successfully done without any deviations. Could DBE account for the deviations given, and whether the report was a true reflection of the achievements of DBE? Inasmuch DBE was accomplishing much, oversight visits displayed a different quality on the ground level altogether. For example, textbook delivery was noted as 100% achieved yet during an oversight visit to a school in the Eastern Cape, the matriculants had not received their textbooks midway through the academic year. Having a report indicating 100% delivery, whilst the quality was not on par with the specification was quite confusing.
• When the relationship between DBE and the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA) was queried, the response was that dissension preceded action. The Select Committee was rather of the view that mutual understanding should occur as progress was paramount. What was the current progress with SRSA, because it was essential that learners were exercising and involved in extra-mural sporting activities?
• In light of the recent storm in KZN, what was the state of readiness for the NSC examination? Had the storm impacted proper examination set-up at schools?
• There was an understanding that the Khai Ri Gude Campaign should fall under the purview of the Department of Higher Education and Training? If the purpose was to skill the illiterate or semi-literate, was it not meant to remain within DBE?
Ms Mpambo-Sibhukwana referred to the Select Committee recommendation that a particular bridge in the Eastern Cape be repaired by DBE working along with the Department of Transport (DoT). Learners relied daily on the bridge as the only means of thoroughfare. Even though much infrastructure was necessary in the Eastern Cape, the damage of this bridge had escalated absenteeism at the school. What effort had DBE made since October 2016 on this recommendation? She referred to the drought in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal, which would impede the nutrition of the poor. What interventions had DBE made to ensure that the nutrition of learners was not disadvantaged due to the drought as this affected efficiency of learning.
Mr Mweli, DBE Director General, answered the Select Committee questions by noting that the questions and commentary would help DBE to improve its future performance. However, could a recommendation be made? Some of the questions could best be responded to by the attendance of the relevant provincial department. A while ago, the Eastern Cape Department of Basic Education appeared with DBE before the Select Committee and their responses were in-depth, which proved to be an effective meeting. This was not recommended as means of exonerating the National Department, because the provincial and national departments were jointly responsible for action within the Basic Education sector.
On Sign Language, Mr Mweli replied that DBE had developed an academic curriculum for South African Sign Language as a study subject. The Minister of Basic Education pronounced inclusion of all official languages for teaching in 2014. The Department tried to treat all languages equitably, not equally, because some languages required more support than others, since the languages were at various levels of establishment within the country.
On inclusion of challenges within the Annual Report, Mr Mweli replied that in future DBE will be more expansive in its citation of challenges, as part of scaling the environment where academic service delivery took place. The challenges endured shall take into account the terrain in which the achievements were delivered. However, the report given had considered the weaknesses and had not “sugar coated” poor performance. If a target was not achieved, it was duly accounted for. DBE was aware that should it omit disclosure to parliamentarians, the neglected information would be highlighted by AGSA anyway. Since AGSA did not only audit financial statements, but the performance information as well. Having said that, there were no omissions in the Annual Report, but the future reporting style shall be improved upon for the sake of equilibrium between achievements and challenges.
On the material misstatements, Mr Mweli replied the misstatements were subsequently corrected. These corrections took place after the financial statements were handed over to AGSA, to which AGSA can attest. DBE would prefer submitting financial statements that did not have any misstatements first hand. However, the CFO acted in a ‘relay-function’ and submitted the documentation in accordance with AGSA requirements.
Mr Hattingh, DBE CFO, clarified that it was not financial statements that were the problem but this had pertained to the Performance Report, specifically the two crucial Programmes 2 and 4.
Mr Mmeli replied that AGSA was right 99% of the time, thus it should be accepted that AGSA could be wrong even though it was merely by 1%. The R44 million for Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure for 2015/16 was an example of this. It was mentioned to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) that the alleged amount was incorrect, but there was no alternative information available to prove otherwise at that time. Even if departments differ with the findings of AGSA, the audit outcome findings are always accepted. Subsequently, DBE hired an external forensic company to avoid the accusation of manipulation of the figures. Mr Smith from SCOPA said that “if it is discovered that the findings of the forensic company concurs with the AGSA findings, that money shall be deducted from your salary”, i.e. salary of the Director General. The proposal was accepted, due to the strong belief that DBE was correct. The outcome of the forensic company was that merely R1.2 million out the R44 million was valid Irregular Expenditure, which was later accepted by AGSA. AGSA noted that the ‘company had ample opportunity and resources to conduct the investigation’ and confessed that it had restrictions of time coupled with a large scope of mandatory work, which meant that it could not verify the information to the same depth that the forensic company had. This was understandable as in the nature of human beings, mistakes can be made. AGSA had accepted the findings of the forensic company. Therefore, the rule that AGSA was always right should be revised. The 1% of inaccuracy could be quite substantial.
Mr Mweli replied that some of the recurring findings pertained to multi-year contracts that went wrong in the initial years of the contract, and would subsequently appear as an audit finding and as irregular expenditure right up until the contract was completed. Thus the irregular expenditure was primarily not new. The projects that were delayed for a year or two by something wrong would perpetuate as a deficit.
On non-action following investigations, Mr Mweli replied that SCOPA had also queried DBE about consequence management and it was provided with a record reflecting this. DBE was willing to accept the reprimand to impose greater harshness of action, if necessary. Some matters were reported to law enforcement agencies, such as the Hawks and SAPS. On a regular basis, DBE urges them to hurry with the cases due to the need to report to oversight structures of Government. However, arrests could not personally be made, and law enforcement agencies were restricted to following procedures before convicting the guilty. The Department could disclose the record containing the current and historical offences, some criminal in nature, to the Select Committee. A team that includes the Internal Audit Committee, the Office of the CFO, Legal Services and Labour Relations, was devised to handle offences, as well as investigate all Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure and Irregular Expenditure.
Dr Mamiki Maboya, Deputy Director General: Curriculum Policy, DBE, clarified the inclusion of languages at the workshop by explaining that the original text was in English and versioned, or translated, into the other official languages, which resulted in no marginalisation of any of the eleven official languages.
The meeting was adjourned.
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