Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. The Portfolio Committee on Social Development deliberated on the 2010-11 annual report of the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa. This report presents some of the key achievements, as well as challenges, encountered by Sassa. The report also highlights matters of concern raised by the committee.
In regard to the annual report, there were key priorities that were presented to the committee and these were also reflected in the report. They were: customer care-centred benefits administration and management system; improved organisational capacity; comprehensive and integrated social security administration; and management services.
The agency received an unqualified audit opinion for the year under review, and it had a disclaimer opinion for the 2009-10 financial year. So, there has been a definite improvement.
In regard to the committee's observations, the committee commended Sassa for the unqualified report.
However, it drew attention to the Auditor-General's remarks that a number of grant beneficiary files requested when they did the regulatory audit were not presented. Furthermore, numerous files presented by Sassa did not contain the necessary information that is required to form the basis for a valid grant payment.
The committee further noted with concern the existing dual accountability between the Department of Social Development and Sassa for the flow of funds, which resulted in the department receiving an unqualified audit report in the previous financial year.
The committee further noted that the department would strengthen its oversight over Sassa by developing an internal audit process and financial inspections. This is critical to ensure that the department strengthens its governance over its entities.
We expressed our satisfaction with the improvement of Sassa's audit report, from the disclaimer to a qualified audit opinion.
We therefore recommend that the issue of dual accountability between the Department of Social Development and the SA Social Security Agency should be addressed, so as to clarify the problem of accountability for the flow of funds.
The audit committees of the department and Sassa should meet on a regular basis to monitor and review internal control and systems, and recommend improvements with regard to them.
The department and Sassa should also ensure that there is a skills transfer from contractors to Sassa employees, so that there will be sustained effective functioning of Sassa.
We also noted that Sassa has been paying the Special Investigation Unit, SIU, R3 million monthly since its inception to conduct investigations on fraud and corruption with regard to social grants. This is very costly and the committee therefore recommends that the department should fast-track and finalise the establishment of an inspectorate for social assistance that is provided for in the Social Assistance Act, Act 13 of 2004, so that Sassa can conduct its own investigations to save costs.
There was no debate.