The Western Cape’s department of health received a clean audit from the auditor-general (AG) even though it submitted 548 cases of irregular expenditure amounting to R38.3 million to the provincial treasury.

The figures emerged during the presentation of the department’s annual report for the 2019/20 financial year to the legislature’s health standing committee.

According to the annual report, “On July 20, the provincial treasury requested additional information in respect to 124 cases of irregular expenditure worth R4.7 million. The outcome of the remaining R33.6 million (424 cases) is still pending.”

The irregular expenditure was raised by ANC member of the health standing committee Rachel Windvogel who wanted to know how the irregular expenditure had come about.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: “The question is important, but it is a matter of relativity, because it might be 548 cases out of two million.

“So in as much as it is irregular expenditure, the mere fact that we got a clean audit means it didn’t reach that threshold which would have led to it being a finding from the AG.”

Departmental chief financial officer Simon Kaye said there had in fact been a reduction in irregular expenditure identified during the year.

Responding to committee member Gladys Bakubaku-Vos (ANC) who wanted to know if any irregularities were identified during the Covid-19 period, head of health Dr Keith Cloete said Covid-19 did not fall under the reporting period under review.

He said there had been two special audits of the department by the AG and nothing had been found to be wanting.
Committee chairperson Wendy Philander (DA) said: “It is highly unfortunate that opposition parties wish to deflect the performance and responsiveness in our province.

“The province stands ready to mitigate this risk related to national budget cuts as seen in its sound management of the pandemic, in the last year reported.”

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