In the 2008/09 annual report of the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA), the Auditor General has delivered a qualified opinion, and raised several urgent matters, of which the most shocking is departmental revenue amounting to R356 million which can not be accurately assessed due to the lack of an audit trail and serious inefficiency of the accounting officer.
After a recent portfolio committee meeting on the apparent successes of the turnaround strategy for the DoHA, it is clear that limited progress has taken place, and that the department is still in a dire situation.
Irregular expenditure to the amount of R198,2 million has also been recorded.
It is clear after these findings that not only are South Africa's national departments rife with mismanagement, but also that those required to run the departments have no idea how to do this, and are making mistakes, intentional or not, resulting in the wastage of hundreds of millions of rands paid by the South African taxpayer.
The Auditor General's basis for the Qualified Opinion is as follows:
• Departmental Revenue amounting to R356 million, comprising cash sales for civic and immigration services, was not managed effectively and efficiently by the accounting officer, as the appropriate processes providing for the identification, collection, recording, reconciliation and safeguarding of information about revenue were not implemented. Requested documents relating to this revenue could not be produced as there is no system of tracking and recovery for these documents.
• The lack of an audit trail and systems to facilitate the recording of the immigration fines and penalties levied, to the amount of R17 million, resulted in the department being unable to account for this income.
• The capital asset balance of R387 million is misstated by an amount which could not be reasonably quantified. The auditor general was unable to physically verify selected capital assets, which resulted in the potential misstatement impact over the capital assets to be estimated at R31 million.
• The department classified a lease, which constitutes a finance lease, as an operating lease, to the value of R333 million instead of disclosing the finance lease commitment with a current present value of R333 million.