Statement by Minister Sisulu following the appearance of the acting Secretary for Defence (SECDEF) before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA)
4 Feb 2010
Media reports following the appearance of the Acting Secretary for Defence, Tsepe Motumi and the management of the department suggests that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu was invited but not available to attend the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) hearing.
The Minister want to state that she was not invited to appear before SCOPA and that normally the committee invites the accounting officer to report back and account for the finances of the department. However, before a joint Cabinet committee meeting was called she was willing to accompany the officials to the hearing. The Minister remains available to attend any committee meeting following invitation and she takes parliament’s role of oversight very seriously.
The Minister notes comments from members of the committee towards the Acting Secretary for Defence; she added that in her budget speech tabled on 3 July 2009 she committed to addressing systemic challenges that resulted in the department getting qualified audit for the past nine years and a lot of progress has been made since then.
For the last nine years the Auditor-General has given us qualified reports. This is a matter that concerns us, as I am sure it concerns you. We have immediately put steps in place to ensure we have the necessary capacity in our financial management to begin to produce different results, because we are keenly aware that it is only when we begin to effectively marshal our resources that we can get better returns We must ensure that there is improvement in the current planning, management and monitoring of the departmental spending, ensuring value for money for the Department of Defence (DOD), Sisulu budget vote statement, 3 July 2009.
The Minister is confident that the turnaround strategy she initiated in May 2009, and the additional technical capacity from KPMG which is reviewing all financial management and procurement systems in the department is laying a foundation for a clean audit in the nearest future.
The Minister has communicated with the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, Mr Booi to request a meeting to understand what went wrong in the SCOPA hearing. She added that before the officials went to SCOPA she received a detailed briefing by the Acting Secretary for Defence and his team, after the briefing she was more than convinced that the team had all the answers and was well prepared to share with members of parliament progress being made to improve financial systems in the DOD.
Reports that the financials of the department are in chaos are inaccurate and the call for the Commander in Chief to terminate the contract of the Acting SECDEF are baseless.
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Issued by: Department of Defence and Military Veterans
4 February 2010
Issued by: Department of Defence
4 Feb 2010
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