Auditor General warns Social Development Department over ‘inaccurate’ systems and records

Grant recipients wait in long lines at SASSA offices.

PHOTO: Gallo Images/Misha Jordaan

  • The Auditor General has warned the Ministry of Social Development about poor record keeping.
  • According to the auditor general, the department’s poor records cannot support its performance reports.
  • On Wednesday, officials briefed parliament on the results of the ministry’s 2021-22 financial year audit.

Record keeping in the social development department is so inadequate that its “source documentation” cannot support its performance reports.

This means that the public cannot know precisely how effective the department is in providing early childhood development services to the country’s poor.

This is one of several findings that the Auditor General (AG) made in the 2021-2022 fiscal year audit results for the department and its entities.

The AG was unable to obtain sufficient evidence to audit “the reliability of the achievement of the reported 57.7%” of children who accessed quality early childhood development services during some exercice.

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“Inadequate systems to track achievement of early childhood development (ECD) service goals can negatively impact the quality of ECD services provided, as the department is unable to determine the nature of the program being delivered by ECD centers.”

The report said:

As a result, the DSD [Department of Social Development] may also be unable to confirm whether funds are properly spent on services provided by ECD centers.

With regard to the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), the AG found that the actual achievement reported for the percentage of new grant applications, processed within the stipulated timeframe, differed from the supporting evidence provided. for auditing.

“As a result, the accuracy of the reported achievement for this indicator could not be confirmed. Inaccurate systems to track claim processing times directly impact service delivery by the entity. This is due to undetected delays in providing social assistance to citizens. This also matches the public outcry over the agency’s delays in processing their applications,” the GA report said.

In addition, the department provided flood victims in KwaZulu-Natal with approximately 99,500 hot meals and 10,894 food vouchers for groceries.

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The April floods claimed the lives of over 400 people and more than 40,000 people were displaced.

Last week, News24 reported that of the 3,950 households, there were still 1,449 displaced.

Just over 2,600 humanitarian items were delivered, 4,159 cash distributions were paid directly into bank accounts and 816 school uniforms were provided to KZN and the Eastern Cape.

Faizel Hassen Jogee, a senior GA official, said: “We have not identified any material findings or risks on the provision of social assistance. The loss of documents (identity documents and school records) and the inability of flood victims to access online had an understandable effect on the effectiveness of controls to prevent payments and aid to beneficiaries who were not entitled to them,” he said.

Joel C. Hicks