An analysis of the annual financial statements of the Department of Health in the Western Cape Province from the 2001/02 to 2014/15 financial years.
Davids, Dustin Joshua
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Oversight is of critical importance in the modern day South African dispensation. With the limited annual fiscal allocations to departments, millions of South Africans are dependent on the state for much needed services. That is, from the outside viewpoint. However, from the inside view (of the Department), financial management is just as important. Without the proper management of funds, one finds that service delivery will be limited. Moreover, the predetermined objectives of the Department might not be realised. This mini-thesis probes the internal financial and governance oversight of the Western Cape Department of Health (WCDoH) by the allocated body of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, namely the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA). This study is premised on the question of whether the WCDoH can withhold valuable information from SCOPA in order to NOT be subjected to critical scrutiny. The other element of research is whether the SCOPA members have the necessary skill which is required to conduct oversight over the WCDoH. This mini-thesis investigates the accountability tool of the WCDoH, namely the annual reports, over a 14 year period. The financial statements of these reports are analysed through the use of financial ratios, in order to ascertain whether SCOPA has conducted proper and effective oversight over the WCDoH. This is due to the fact that the WCDoH receives the largest part of the fiscal allocation of the Western Cape Government's budget. Thus, it is important to see the extent to which SCOPA conducted oversight over the WCDoH. The WCDoH is allocated its budget every year during the month of March when the appropriations budget is scrutinised by the Budget Committee of WCPP, and thereafter either supported or rejected by the relevant Standing Committee. The budget of the WCDoH has never been rejected by its relevant Standing Committee. However, SCOPA takes over the oversight reigns once the WCDoH's budget is put in use, which is normally from April that particular year. From thereon, SCOPA calls the WCDoH to various hearings to account for its expenditure.