Auditor-General finds Sassa incurred R73.1 million in irregular expenditure
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Cape Town - Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke has found that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) did not take effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregular expenditure amounting to R73.1 million.
Maluleke made the finding in her 2020/21 audit report, which is contained in Sassa’s annual report tabled in Parliament.
She also said the majority of the irregular expenditure resulted from expired lease contracts still in use and cleaning and sanitation contracts not following tender processes.
“Leadership did not exercise adequate oversight responsibility over compliance with applicable legislation and performance reporting. This resulted in instances of irregular expenditure not being prevented and reported performance achievements not agreeing to supporting documentation.”
Maluleke also said she identified an unnamed material irregularity during the audit and notified the accounting authority.
“By the date of this auditor’s report, the response of the accounting authority was not yet due. This material irregularity will be included in the next year’s auditor’s report,” she said.
Maluleke, however, noted that there were investigations into the affairs of Sassa which did not form part of her audit opinion.
She was referring to the Sassa’s fraud and compliance unit which probed non-compliance with procurement and contract management legislation.
There were also 25 cases that were referred to the SAPS and the Special Investigating Unit was conducting its own investigations.
Writing in the annual report, Sassa CEO Totsie Memela-Khambula said they closed the financial year in March with R1.142 billion.
“This included R20 330 503 of irregular expenditure incurred during 2020/21 and R43 143 127 incurred in the current year but relating to prior year irregular leases which continued in the year under review and R6 137 116 of other irregular expenditure recorded in the current year relating to prior years,” Memela-Khambula said.
She said the National Treasury has condoned irregular expenditure amounting to R144 986 772.
The CEO also said the agency closed the financial year with R87 313 454 of fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
The amount involved R594 384 incurred during the year under review as well R488 833 of fruitless and wasteful expenditure identified in the current year but incurred in the prior year.
“Upon finalisation of the investigation of some of the cases, cases amounting to R87 931 were cleared or absorbed as affected officials were exonerated from negligence while R116 979 is to be recovered from affected officials,” Memela-Khambula said.
The mount include R74 786 892 payment of the social assistance service fee to Cash Paymaster Services, R3 499 606 VIP protection services provided to the children of the former minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini and chief director for communication Lumka Oliphant and her children, among others.