The Public Accounts Committee were briefed by the Premier and Director-General of the Western Cape on their 2020/21 Annual Report. For the meeting, the Committee would only be dealing with sections D and E of the Report.
Key issues during the discussion related to the liability of the R184.8 million and the SARS issue, which was currently being dealt with. The Auditor-General’s report highlighted the work done by the Department – with the Department spending 99.6% of the budget and achieving a clean audit for the fourth consecutive year.
Members sought information regarding the poor attendance of members under table 33 and 34 of the report. Further information was sought regarding the model used for table 40: members of the Governance and Administration Cluster Audit Commit.
[the session between the Committee and the Auditor-General was closed to the public]
The Chairperson welcomed the Committee to the meeting. A special welcome was given to the Premier and Director-General of the Western Cape Government.
Input by the Premier
Mr Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, in his opening remarks, thanked the Committee for the opportunity. The Premier stated that the continued issue surrounding the liability of R184.8 million was something the Department has been working on to try and get off the books for the past few years. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) issue was something which would be dealt with. The Director-General and Department was thanked for always working diligently and striving towards efficient governance and service delivery.
Mr Harry Malila, Director-General of the Western Cape Government, thanked the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for the engagement. Key issues were set out from pages 15-24 of the Annual Report. From a performance perspective, all indicators had been achieved. The Department worked extremely hard to deal with the issues which had been previously raised by the Audit Committee. The Auditor-General’s report highlighted the work done by the Department. The Department spent 99.6% of its budget – this demonstrated the sound way in which the Department conducted its financial affairs whilst reaching its performance targets.
Section D & E of the Annual Report
The Chairperson stated that for the purpose of the meeting, the Committee would be dealing with section D and section E of the Department’s Annual Report. The Chairperson asked why it seemed that members’ attendance of meetings was poor.
Mr Malila responded that table 33 indicated the Department’s GOVCOM members whilst table 34 indicated the non-members who attended GOVCOM meetings. There was no real requirement for non-members to attend GOVCOM meetings regularly unless invited. Attendance was necessitated by the agenda and particular issues which need to be resolved.
The Chairperson wanted to know if the same model had been followed for table 40: members of the Governance and Administration Cluster Audit Commit.
Mr Malila responded that what generally happened was that the term of members either continued or came to an end, with some being appointed for only a particular term. The reports ran from April 2020 to March 2021 however members, such as Ms Crystal Abdoll, had been appointed from 1 March 2021 already for her first term. Mr Yaseen Ismail resigned and therefore was no longer in the system. In coming back to the question, he responded that he believed the same model was applied as in the previous table.
Ms D Baartman (DA) stated that many of the questions posed in the earlier meeting (Standing Committee on the Premier) related in some or other way to the sections being dealt with in the current meeting hence questions by Members had been dealt with already.
The Chairperson stated that a clean audit had been issued for the fourth consecutive year. What lied beyond a clean audit? What did it mean could be done since everything was apparently fine?
Mr Malila explained that clean audits were the highest level which one could attain. The aim was to strive and move towards clean governance overall. The Department aimed to maintain its clean audit whilst delivering on its promises to citizens and providing them with efficient service delivery.
The Chairperson thanked the Premier and Director-General for not only their attendance but overall cooperation, and willingly making themselves available to be accountable to the Committee whenever deemed necessary.
There were no further resolutions.
Committee Members were thanked for their attendance.
The meeting was adjourned.
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