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SA's marine life, coastal fund receives clean audit

by BuaNews Online
on 01 Sep 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has announced that the Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF) has received an unqualified audit report.

The MLRF Annual Report for 2007/08 was tabled in Parliament on Monday showing a turnaround in the management and administration of the fund.

The MLRF finances operations such as research, resource and coastal management and monitoring as well as control and surveillance of the Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) branch of the department.

The MCM branch is tasked with managing the development and sustainable use of South Africa's marine and coastal resources as well as protecting the integrity of South Africa's marine and coastal ecosystems.

According to the department the unqualified Audit Report is the culmination of the hard work which began in August 2006 in response to a number of concerns raised about the MLRF.

The concerns included cash flow problems, a lack of skills and capacity and inadequate financial systems.

Mr van Schalkwyk said the corrective strategies focussed on corporate governance, risk management and compliance with International Accounting Standards.

"I am pleased that these improvements were achieved two years ahead of the initial schedule, which aimed to achieve an unqualified report with no emphasis of matter in the 2009/10 reporting period," the minister said.

He said the latest Annual Report of the MLRF reflects a healthier financial position.

"The MLRF now has a positive accumulated surplus of more than R29 million, compared to a deficit of more than R65 million in the 2005/06 financial year."

The MCM is now better able to fulfil its mandate and is in full compliance with the statutory reporting requirements of the MLRF.

"The improved financial position means, amongst others, that there are now more sea days available for compliance vessels and research.

"This growth allows the MLRF to further build on and leverage of its strengthened balance sheet," Mr van Schalkwyk said. - BuaNews

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