Defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu says she is personally overseeing efforts to rehabilitate the finances of her department after seven years of qualified audits and joked her top officials would be sent to patrol the border as a punishment should they fail.
She told Parliament on Tuesday her department has worked tirelessly the last year to eliminate the causes of the qualifications. “The acting Secretary for Defence [Lieutenant General Themba Matanzima] and the Secretary for Defence designate [Mpumi Mpofu] are in constant liaison with the National Treasury and the Accountant-General’s office. As Honourable Members would know, the final report will be released in July 2010 and I have indicated to both Secretaries for Defence and the new Chief Financial Officer that, should there be any audit qualifications, they would be deployed to the border,” Sisulu said.
“I made a commitment to you last year that we would improve our audit qualifications. The audit qualifications for the year prior to my appointment were six and I made a commitment that we would make that one or zero. … We are very serious about this matter and as Honourable Members know, I have personally be involved in overseeing every step we have taken.
“It had become evident that, because some of the qualifications derive from historical challenges in which data is not available, they have become intractable. … The asset register remains a major challenge. The problem arises out of misalignment between our system and that which is used by Treasury. … We hope to turn some of the outstanding qualifications to emphasis of matter only. To ensure constant monitoring, and to underscore the seriousness with which we approach this matter, we have decided to appoint a compliance officer in the ministry.”