The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has received a R11-million grant to help improve the audit outcomes in the public sector with a special focus in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
The grant has been awarded to the university’s school of accounting by the Education, Training and Development sector SETA and the Financial Services SETA, and it will be used to enhance its short learning programme courses and training opportunities for people in the public sector.
“This grant will allow us to develop the interventions that will assist the TVET colleges in improving their financial management skills, which is expected to improve the audit outcomes subsequently.
“In this regard, UJ will be providing support to 400 TVET colleges finance personnel. Additionally, those TVET colleges with qualified opinion (qualified report), disclaimer of opinion (disclaimer report), adverse opinion (adverse audit report) will benefit from mentoring,” said UJ’s Professor Tankiso Moloi.
Presenting the 2019/20 audit outcomes of the 50 TVET colleges in parliament in November the office of the Auditor-General said while there had been improvements in the TVET sector there was still “reliance on auditors to identify errors in financial statements”.
Business executive in the Auditor-General, Kgabo Komape, told members of the portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology that the submission of financial statements without errors and the quality of financial submission after audit had decreased in that financial year.
She, however, said there were still areas of concerns.
“ [They] include material misstatement in submitted AFS [audited entity financial statements], consequence management, procurement management and strategic planning management.
“There is a lack of discipline on how to execute internal control activities and the risk functions don’t identify the risks to ensure they are mitigated against,” she said.
Komape also added that the financial health of colleges such as Motheo and Northern Cape Rural college were dire and that she was not sure they would continue to operate in the future.
Members of the portfolio committee, at the time, said the presentation was “bleak” and that the governance of TVET colleges was “poor”.
At the time, there were also outstanding audits from the Orbit, Taletso, Tshwane South and Northern Cape Urban colleges.
In the statement, UJ said that from the additional grant from the SETAs, the UJ school of accounting will offer mentorship in public sector accounting, risk management, internal audit and financial controls as well as the supply chain management to relevant TVET College finance professionals.
“This funding helps tremendously in our efforts to also strengthen the digital competencies of our students. Our team is excited to be part of the national efforts to improve financial management in the public sector, specifically in the TVET colleges.
“We hope that the cohort of students from these programmes will go all the way to improve their respective systems of financial management and governance, which we hope will result in the decline in unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” said Moloi.