Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) annual report tabled in Parliament
30 Sep 2010
The Chief Electoral Officer, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, confirmed today that the Electoral Commission of South Africa has submitted its annual report for the financial year 2009/10 to Parliament.
She indicated that the Auditor-General had, for the first time since 2001, expressed a qualified opinion on the financial statements of the Electoral Commission.
Advocate Tlakula explained the basis for the qualified opinion and referred to the following matters:
The financial statements contained misstatements in respect of administrative expenditure in that:
1. The payment of the 200 000+ electoral staff members that worked on election day during the 2009 national and provincial elections presented some verification problems. Issues that, amongst others, arose were:
Not all staff members turned up for work on election day. Where there was a need for replacement formal employment contracts were not entered into with all the replacement staff members.
There were cases where some attending staff members did not sign attendance registers or where a formal employment contract for the day was not entered into or was subsequently mislaid in the process of having to be forwarded from the more than 19 000 voting stations to central storage points.
There were a few cases where staff members that were recruited and trained for election day, as best can be established, did not report for duty but were nevertheless paid as their details were not deleted from the electronic register before the date of payment.
Advocate Tlakula explained that for audit purposes all expenditure had to be verified by documentary evidence. She, further, indicated that staff is allocated to voting stations in terms of a set formula that take voter numbers and facilities into account and that in no instance were more persons paid than was supposed to be the case.
She also indicated that tariffs were predetermined in the electronic financial system of the IEC and that all those who were paid, were paid the correct tariffs.
Advocate Tlakula indicated that the IEC has taken note of the opinion of the Auditor-General. She said that the countrywide recruitment and training of the large number of more than 200 000 electoral staff members, for engagement for only one or two days, presented many administrative challenges.
The IEC will, however, concentrate all its efforts to deal with those challenges as best possible in future elections.
2. The financial statements did not recognise all the lease expenditure for municipal electoral offices on a straight-line basis over the lease term in accordance with SA Standards of GRAP13, Leases.
3. The value of contractual commitments was overstated in the financial statements. It included all amounts included in all contracts rather than only those that constitute legally binding commitments.
Advocate Tlakula said that she was disappointed at the outcome of the audit and that due attention will in future be paid to effectively deal with the matters that led to the qualified opinion of the Auditor-General as well as other lesser issues raised in his report before they could become significant or material matters.
She however emphasised that all funds expended by the IEC had been accounted for and that no gaps existed in that regard nor were there any misdemeanours involved in any way whatsoever as far as the basis for qualification is concerned.
She also indicated that unlike the public service at large that operates on a cash basis of accounting the IEC utilises an accrual system of accounting, which, given that the IEC is not a commercial concern, offered its own accounting challenges in terms of applicability to its functional environment.
She is, however, confident that the staff members of the IEC would also rise to the audit challenges in the same way as it has consistently done with challenges regarding the administration of elections.
She, in conclusion, emphasised that the IEC is fully engaged in preparing for the municipal elections next year and that this is progressing well, without hindrance and as professionally and efficiently as in the past.
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Issued by: Independent Electoral Commission
30 Sep 2010
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