The qualified audits received by more than a third of all government departments are not a sign of below-par performance, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) heard on Wednesday.
"We need to have targets in place to actually say whether we are succeeding or not," newly appointed Auditor General Terence Nombembe told the committee.
Nombembe said he had no "target" number of qualified audits that would be regarded as satisfactory.
In the absence of such targets, he did not know what would be considered satisfactory performance, he explained.
However, he was generally not impressed with the high number of qualified audits -- 11 for 2005/06, compared with seven in the 2004/05 financial year.
This despite former auditor general Shauket Fakie's explanation to Parliament last year that the number of qualified results had increased because of more stringent auditing of government departments' financial statements.
Scopa chairperson Themba Godi has agreed on the need for targets "to make it easier for us to see whether things are improving or not".
Nombembe could not compare the South African government's financial management with that of other countries.
In other developed countries -- such as Canada and Australia -- government financial-management capacity is so developed that audits are out-sourced to private firms and not conducted by the Auditor General, he said.
from M&G here