Nearly R2bn in irregular spending by Sassa

03 October 2018 - 08:38
By Bekezela Phakathi
Sassa card social grants. File photo.
Image: South African Gov‏ via Twitter Sassa card social grants. File photo.

The agency responsible for paying social grants to 17-million people has been hit with another qualified audit opinion for irregular spending of nearly R2-billion.

The government allocates a large part of social spending to social grants‚ with more than R150-billion set aside annually. But the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has in recent times struggled to carry out its functions‚ due mainly to poor leadership and instability under former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini‚ who is now the minister in the presidency for women.

Last week‚ the Constitutional Court ordered Dlamini to pay out of her own pocket 20% of the legal costs of the Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law in relation to the 2017 Sassa debacle.

Sassa also received a qualified audit in the previous financial year‚ meaning the auditor-general had doubts about the veracity of certain financial data at the entity. In the 2017/2018 annual report tabled in parliament on Tuesday‚ auditor-general Kimi Makwetu said that not all irregular expenditure identified was disclosed‚ as required by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

"This was because the entity did not have an adequate system for identifying all irregular expenditure. There were no satisfactory alternative procedures that I could perform to obtain reasonable assurance that all irregular expenditure had been properly recorded … consequently‚ I was unable to determine whether any adjustment was necessary to the balance of irregular expenditure stated at R1.712-billion in the financial statements‚" said Makwetu.

- Business Day