Following a qualified audit on its 2020/2021 performance, the South African Tourism Board has begun the process of consequence management.
“The Board takes the audit opinion in a very serious light and has begun the process of consequence management. This is in line with the recommendations of the investigation and a subsequent legal opinion as well as the Board’s strong commitment to its fiduciary responsibilities. The Board has also tasked Management to put in place systems to improve the internal control environment,” said SA Tourism in a statement.
The Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) report found “fruitless, irregular and wasteful expenditure of R20 million (€1.1m).
According to SA Tourism, the AGSA findings are based on a Board-initiated forensic investigation that was shared with both the AG and the Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu.
Addressing SA Tourism during a briefing on the report last week, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism, Tandi Mahambehlala, expressed concern that the AGSA report had found that the organisation did not comply with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA); that the body had poor internal controls; it did not implement the Audit Action Plan; and that it did not conduct adequate reviews on the annual performance plan.
She asked the Department of Tourism to assist SA Tourism to improve its performance.
Sisulu informed the Committee that she was aware of the AGSA findings. She promised to take appropriate steps to remedy the AGSA findings and meet with the SA Tourism Board and the Auditor General, Tsakani Maluleke.
Interim Chairperson of the SA Tourism Board, Mojanku Gumbi acknowledged some shortfalls in performance during the year, highlighting that this was the first time in 17 years that SA Tourism had received a qualified audit “due to limitation of scope on expenditure and receivables from non-exchange transactions”.
Going forward, Gumbi said, it was important to ensure that SA Tourism remained on a strong footing as the organisation gears up for the recovery of the sector.
“In 2022, SA Tourism is again looking forward to hosting Meetings Africa and Africa’s Travel Indaba. These events are critical for the recovery of the sector in South Africa and the region.”