Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2004-10-12 Reporter: Sapa

Zuma Called to Account for Aids Trust Audit



Mail and Guardian

Date 2004-10-12



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The Democratic Alliance has called for the trustees of the South African National Aids Trust, including Deputy President Jacob Zuma and Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, to appear before Parliament's health portfolio committee to account for the trust's activities.

The call comes after an Auditor-General's report, tabled last week, found the trust's budgets were not submitted to the board of trustees, as required in terms of the Public Finance Management Act. Its monthly and quarterly reports on income and revenue were not provided.

The AG passed a qualified audit opinion on the trust's financial statements.

His audit report also found the trust's operational activities during the 2003/04 financial year were "limited", and there was a "lack of monitoring and active involvement by trustees".

In a statement on Tuesday, DA health spokesperson Ryan Coetzee said he had formally requested the trustees "be called before the portfolio committee to account for the activities of the trust in light of the AG's scathing report".

"It is quite clear that the trust is being run abysmally, and that the trustees are quite simply not doing their jobs properly, or at all.

"The trust was established in 2002, and it administers 'moneys obtained by way of donations, grants, loans or subsidies' to be used in the campaign against HIV/Aids.

"The trustees are the deputy president, the minister of health, the minister of social development (Zola Skweyiya) and Ms MK Matsau, who was the trust's acting accounting authority."

The AG's report had also revealed "fruitless and wasteful expenditure, to an amount of R571 114 was incurred by renting premises that were not utilised for a period starting from February 1, 2003 to date (July 29, 2004)".

This had not been disclosed in the annual financial statements as required by the National Treasury.

"Considering the importance of the trust's role in the fight against HIV/Aids, this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue," Coetzee said.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Mail & Guardian.