Johannesburg — Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has blamed the poor management of grant beneficiaries' records as among the reasons behind the department's continuous qualified reports.
She has now committed to achieve a clean audit opinion before 2014.
"We have committed to improvements in the grant payment system, new payment models and delivery improvement...I am pleased to announce that these actions are starting to bear fruit," Dlamini said on Thursday.
"Our aim now is to deal with a few areas of work identified by the Auditor General which need attention and we are setting ourselves a target to achieve clean audit opinion before 2014," she said.
In 2009/2010, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), an agency responsible for paying social grants, received a disclaimer audit opinion from the Auditor General and this subsequently led to the Social Development Department receiving a qualified report.
Dlamini said a new tender - announced by the department earlier this year - to pay social grants will lead to an R800 000 reduction in social grants administration costs per annum while it will introduce flexible payment options for beneficiaries.
"These include utilisation of SASSA cards at banks, pay points, payment merchants and large retail stores as well as improved turnaround times."
The department had further spent R43 million in upgrading offices, installation of ICT infrastructure branding and allocation of adequate sitting space for applicants. Officials have set a target of improving more than 300 pay points nationally in the current financial year.
"The improvements entail repairing buildings and our facilities...already 366 pay points have undergone these improvements with expenditure standing at R13.1 million," Dlamini said.