Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula manages and oversees a department that is regularly on the receiving end of qualified audit opinions from the Auditor-General, but does not appear overly concerned.
Earlier this year, she responded to questions posed in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and was asked to elaborate on the financial situation of the national defence force, given the continued decrease in its budget allocation from National Treasury and continued qualified audit opinions.
Hansard reports Mapisa-Nqakula saying, in response to a question: “Yes, even in this financial year, we will have areas where the Auditor-General will have matters of emphasis or even qualifications” with the qualification there is “sometimes a difference in interpretation of auditing standards between National Treasury and the Auditor-General”. She added: “There are ongoing discussions between the three entities (DoD, National Treasury and the Auditor-General) to resolve these issues”.
The Minister pointed out to NCOP members the DoD received qualified audit opinions in the last three financial years – “nothing to be proud of” stressing “the DoD never received a disclaimer audit opinion from the Auditor-General”.
She also told the NCOP: “There are consequence management plans in place for mismanagement and other financial misconduct in the DoD. They include instituting boards of inquiry; military police investigations and referral of cases to the SA Police Service as and when required in criminal cases; investigations performed by the Inspector-General of the DoD and the Defence Intelligence Division as needed. Consequences resulting from these interventions have included disciplinary actions, dismissals and referral to the criminal justice system as needed”.
Asked whether remedial action taken where investigation of mismanagement and financial misconduct was a deterrent, Mapisa-Nqakula said: “I do believe remedial action led to people being very scared of being on the wrong side of the law”.
In a report prepared for Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV), committee members are reminded of the DoD qualified audit opinion. Additionally, the report points out irregular expenditure of R3,587 billion and fruitless and wasteful expenditure totalling R37 million.