The replies provided by the Department of Health in response to the Auditor-General’s 2015/16 audit report were irrelevant and did not speak adequately to the matters raised. This was the sentiments of members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) at the beginning of the second of a series of meetings of Scopa that took place at the Parliamentary Village in the city last Thursday.
“Not one question was answered properly and if the department cannot execute its duties in this regard to our satisfaction, we will have to act on its behalf,” Scopa member Rudolph Phala said in referring to a list of questions and answers that were prepared by the department. Scopa members Elias Nong and Johanna Aphiri supported Phala and reiterated that conclusive answers are required.
Scopa Chairperson Snowy Kennedy-Monyemoratho allowed Phophi Ramathuba, MEC for Health and Ntsile Kgaphola, Head of Department to clarify some of the replies and Ramathuba called on acting Chief Finance Officer Justice Mudau to assist. Mudau attributed most of the queried shortcomings to lack of funds, inability to maintain accurate records due to challenges with outdated IT resources and lack of capacity in supply chain management.
Scopa members highlighted the fact that some of the challenges were in existence during the previous (2014/15) financial year and it did not prevent the department from receiving an unqualified audit opinion, opposed to the qualified opinion recorded for the year under review.
The questions on which answers were required referred to failure to keep proper records of movable tangible capital assets, failure to accurately account for commuted overtime and 14 medical negligence lawsuits in which the department was involved. Fruitless and wasteful expenses amounting to
R15 901 000 and irregular expenditure amounting to R258 062 000 that were recurring from the 2014/15 financial year appeared on the list again as an unresolved matter.
Story and photos: BARRY VILJOEN
Featured photo: Scopa Chairperson Snowy Kennedy-Monyemoratho, Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba, Head of Department Health Ntsile Kgaphola and Acting Chief Finance Officer of the Department of Health Justice Mudau.