Public Protector staff to celebrate the institution’s first ever clean audit
Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Deputy Public Protector, Adv. Kholeka Gcaleka and Acting Chief Executive Officer Ms. Yalekile Lusibane will on Thursday lead staff in celebrating the Public Protector South Africa’s (PPSA) achievement of a clean audit as reported in the institution’s 2019/20 Annual Report.
It is for the first time in the PPSA’s 25-year history that the institution’s financial statements have been found by the Auditor-General South Africa to be free of material misstatements and to have no material findings on performance reporting or non-compliance with legislation.
The closest the PPSA came to this prestigious audit outcome in recent years was in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years when the institution received back-to-back unqualified audits with findings.
The PPSA’s audited financial statements for 2019/20 tell the story of an institution in good financial health. Its accumulated deficit dropped to R1milliom in 2019/20 from R2.6million in 2018/19 and R19million in 2017/18.
As things stand, the PPSA’s assets far exceed its liabilities, marking a turning point from previous years during which the institution’s solvency came into question.
Corporate governance matters aside, the PPSA also performed well, achieving nearly 80% of its targets. This marked a steady improvement when compared to the preceding two years during which the institution managed 72% and a lowly 50% of set targets, respectively.
In the year under review, the institution exceeded its target of finalising at least 7 000 matters in its caseload by nearly 5 000. The achievement of this target had a positive effect on a related target of finalising investigation reports.
Although the objective was to finalise 56 reports, the institution more than doubled it, concluding a record 137 reports. This was 81 more reports than planned.
The PPSA also finalised 95% of its caseload within the set turnaround times in terms of which “Early Resolution” matters must be finalised within six months, “Administrative Justice and Service Delivery” matters must be concluded within 12 months while the more complex “Good Governance and Integrity” matters must be wrapped up in 24 months.
The institution further exceeded its target on systemic investigations and/or interventions in that it identified and investigated three instead of the planned two. Such investigations are critical as they target recurring governance and service delivery issues, with a view plugging the systemic gaps so that the system can function smoothly as it was designed to.
Between April 2019 and March 2020, the PPSA had a caseload of 15 245 matters. During that period, the institution managed to finalise 11 643 cases. Municipalities, the Departments of Home Affairs, Labour, Justice and the South Africa Police Service were the top five institutions complained against. Services were taken closer to the doorsteps of remote grassroots communities across the country on 237 occasions as part of the outreach programme.
“These are not just numbers,” explained Adv. Mkhwebane, “we really made an impactful change in the livelihoods of many disadvantaged communities through the resolution of thousands of complaints pertaining to access to drinking water and housing, undue delays in paying out pension and workers compensation benefits, unlocking the lives of victims of identity theft, addressing the plight of small business people, who were owed monies by the state, and resolving billing issues concerning municipal services.”
Adv. Mkhwebane attributed the success to her office’s 357 staff members, describing them as the foot soldiers who make the institution shine. She urged them to redouble their efforts going into the future to maintain the standard set through the audit outcome, adding that this was critical for an institution that is at the forefront of oversight and integrity to always lead by example.
The celebration will take place as follows:
Date : Thursday, 17 December 2020
Time : 10:00
Venue : Protea Hotel, Hatfield and virtually via Zoom
Wednesday, December 16, 2020