The Department of Human Settlements has achieved its 18th unqualified audit report since the dawn of democracy for the way it is managing public finances.
This emerged at the presentation of the Department’s 2011/12 Annual Report in Parliament earlier today.
Human Settlements Director General Thabane Zulu said although the Department welcomed the fact that it got an unqualified audit, he was not entirely happy as this has been the standard over the past years.
“We need a clean audit and we believe the newly approved budget informed by the turnaround strategy will enhance our performance. We all agree that the performance has to improve,” Zulu told the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements.
The Department, under the watchful eye of the Auditor-General, would be working on strategies to improve performance that would ultimately lead to human settlements achieving a clean audit.
One critical aspect emphasized in the Annual Report by the Auditor-General was under spending in the Rural Household Infrastructure Programme due to a number of factors which delayed initial implementation.
These included resistance by some municipalities to accept the programme because of unhappiness with the delivery model and the non availability of building material, amongst others.
However, there was agreement between the Department and Auditor-General that the matters of emphasis were not systemic and that the former was committed to address these. Measures were already in place in the current financial year to attend to this.
Although “not cum laude”, the Annual Report also reveals that the Department of Human Settlements achieved 77 percent of its 171 targets during the year under review.
Other highlights from the Annual Report include:
“Good progress has been made in the implementation of the Urban Settlements Development Grant – primarily meant to support land acquisition and assembly and to unblock bulk infrastructure impediments - and aligning provincial and municipal human settlements priorities with that of the national sphere. We want to make sure that the money is used for the intention it is intended for,” Zulu told the Portfolio Committee.