Ensuring effective social grant spend, Budget 2014/2015
On 26 February 2014, the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan, presented his Budget Speech in the Parliament of South Africa. One of the highlights of the Budget Speech was the planned increased spending on grants, including social grants.
Social grants are meant for the vulnerable and those that need it the most. According to the National Treasury, the number of South Africans eligible for grants is due to reach 16.5 million by 2016/17.
With an increased focus by Government on the eradication of poverty as well as the reduction of inequality, it is important that social grants are spent on the right people at the right amounts (as indicated in the Minister’s speech), at the right time and place. The Minister has reported significant progress to date in ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of social grant expenditure. These include the introduction of a new payment system (lowering the cost of administration) as well as the removal of one million invalid beneficiaries from the system.
However, more can be done. Enhanced payment systems are not enough. Government, together with their Trusted Advisors, need to continuously monitor payments of these social grants and identify early indicators of problems that need to be corrected. This usually includes reporting on actual performance against what was planned or expected. As a trusted advisor, the internal auditor should champion continuous monitoring and evaluation of the social grant value chain by Public Sector servants and their internal auditorswill ensure that the correct social grants reach the hands of the right citizens when they need to receive it.