The audit & sustainability committee (“Committee”) assists the Board to fulfil its supervisory role to ensure the integrity of financial reporting in terms of accounting standards and the Listings Requirements of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Limited (“JSE”). It does so by evaluating the findings of the internal and external auditors, remedial actions taken and the adequacy and effectiveness of the system of internal financial controls required to form the basis for the preparation of reliable financial statements.
The Committee chairman reports on Committee deliberations and decisions at the Board meeting immediately following each Committee meeting. The internal and external auditors have unrestricted access to the Committee chairman. The independence of the external auditor is regularly reviewed and non-audit related services are pre-approved and notified.
The Group chairman, Group chief executive, Group financial director, Group commercial executive, chief audit executive and the external auditors all attend meetings by invitation. The chairman and all members of the Committee also serve on the risk management committee. This ensures that overlapping responsibilities are appropriately addressed.
The Committee's responsibilities include:
In addition to the duties set out in the terms of reference, the Committee performed the required statutory functions in terms of Section 94(7) of the Companies Act of South Africa.
The Committee reviews the quality and effectiveness of the external audit process. In particular, the Committee considers the independence of the external auditor. In this regard, the Committee has established an approvals framework for the pre-approval of non-audit services to be rendered by the external auditor and reviews these fees on an ongoing basis.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. (“PwC”) served as external auditor for the financial year ended 30 June 2021. The designated auditor is JFM Kotzé. The Committee considers his tenure and that of other key audit partners within the Group in order to reduce familiarity threats to independence.
The Committee is satisfied that the external auditor is independent and has nominated PwC for re-election at the forthcoming annual general meeting of shareholders, with JFM Kotzé as the individual registered auditor. PwC and JFM Kotzé are properly accredited.
The Committee considered and satisfied itself of the appropriateness of the expertise, experience and performance of the Group financial director during the year. The Committee also considered and satisfied itself of the appropriateness of the expertise and adequacy of resources of the finance function as well as the experience of senior members of management responsible for the finance function.
The Group internal audit function was established to assist the Board and executive management with the achievement of their objectives and has remained a vital part of the Group's governance and combined assurance structures. Internal audit is an independent assurance provider on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Group's governance, risk management and control structures, systems and processes.
The centralised function operates in terms of a formal mandate, in conformance with the International Professional Practices Framework for Internal Audit. Internal audit assurance can only be reasonable and not absolute and does not supersede the Board's and management's responsibility for the ownership, design, implementation, monitoring and reporting of governance, risk management and internal controls.
The chief audit executive leads the internal audit function which covers the global operations and is resourced with both internal employees and external resources. It assists the Board and management in maintaining an effective internal control environment by evaluating those controls continuously, using a risk-based approach, to determine whether they are adequately designed, operating efficiently and effectively, and to recommend improvements. The internal audit assurance consists of independent evaluations of the adequacy and effectiveness of risk management, internal controls, financial reporting mechanisms and records, information systems and operations, safeguarding of assets (including fraud prevention) and adherence to laws and regulations. It includes a review of strategic risk mitigations, a risk-based review of major projects, key business processes and systems, the Group's sustainability information, IT governance and IT general controls. An integrated assurance model was applied to ensure a coordinated approach to all assurance activities, appropriate to address the significant risks facing the Group.
The annual plan is based on an assessment of risk areas internal audit and management identify, as well as focus areas highlighted by the Committee and management. The plan also considers work performed by other assurance providers in the Group. The annual audit plan is updated as appropriate to ensure it remains responsive to changes in the business. A comprehensive report on internal audit findings is presented to the audit committee quarterly. Follow-up audits are conducted in areas where major internal control weaknesses are found.
The internal audit activity has a quality assurance and improvement programme, and is subject to an independent external quality assurance review every five years.
The independence, organisational positioning, scope and nature of work of the internal audit function were evaluated by the Committee in June 2021 and determined to be appropriate and consistent with the internal audit strategy and mandate. The Committee approved internal audit's risk-based audit plan for financial year 2022. The internal audit function reports directly to the audit committee and their mandate in relation to the internal audit function is to:
An internal audit charter, reviewed by the Committee and approved by the Board, formally defines the purpose, authority and responsibility of the internal audit function.
The charter gives the chief audit executive direct access to the Group chief executive, Group financial director, chairman of the audit committee and chairman of the Board.
With regards to the Responsibility Statement in terms of paragraph 3.84(K) of the Listings Requirements, the Committee noted:
Based on the above and the Group's system of internal control and risk management in 2021, which included the design implementation and effectiveness of internal financial controls, a reasonable basis is provided for the preparation of reliable annual financial statements in all material aspects.
Financial leadership in Murray & Roberts caters for growth in the business, including ongoing employment and redeployment of senior financial executives. The Group financial director and lead external audit partner attend selected contract and subsidiary reviews throughout the year. Audit close-out meetings are held between external auditors and operational management at year end. A detailed audit summary memorandum is prepared for all Group operating entities and a consolidated report is presented to the Committee. There are agreed procedures for the Committee to seek professional independent advice at the Group's expense.
During the year under review, external service providers were appointed to provide assurance on the sustainability information. The Committee recommended the Group's annual financial statements for Board approval and will recommend the annual integrated report for approval. It is satisfied that they comply with IFRS on a going concern basis following an assessment of solvency and liquidity requirements.
In preparation of the annual financial statements the Group has taken into consideration the feedback included in the Report Back on Proactive Monitoring of Financial Statements provided by the JSE.
Group assurance activities are embedded, sound and are continuously reviewed and where required redirected to ensure appropriate and effective coverage of the Group's operations, implementation of King IVTM principles and recommendations, and sustainability assurance.
The Group's commitment to continuous improvement in achieving acceptable levels of assurance is underscored by various policy frameworks that were developed and implemented, including a stakeholder management framework, regulatory compliance and information management frameworks. The Opportunity Management System was developed in-house and continues to be enhanced to highlight project risks entering the Group's environment.
The multi-year rolling internal audit plan is designed to provide assurance that the major risks and key processes are effectively mitigated and managed, to recommend improvements and track the implementation of audit recommendations.
The Group Integrated Assurance Framework governs and coordinates the overall approach to Group risk management. This entails understanding, identifying, reporting, managing and mitigating Group risk, and includes the process of independently auditing Group policies, plans, procedures, practices, systems, controls and activities to ensure that the Group achieves the level of operational efficiency and compliance required by the Board.
The efforts of the various internal and external assurance providers are coordinated to ensure coverage of agreed risk areas and to minimise duplication and eliminate gaps.
Key audit matters are those that, PwC, in their professional judgement, were of most significance in their audit of the consolidated financial statements of the current period:
Further information on significant areas of judgement can be found in note 40 of the annual financial statements.
In our opinion, the consolidated and separate financial statements present fairly, in all material respects the consolidated and separate financial position of the Company and its subsidiaries as at 30 June 2021 and its consolidated and separate financial performance and its consolidated and separate cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with IFRS and the requirements of the Companies Act. In preparation of the annual financial statements the Group and the Committee has taken into consideration the feedback included in the most recent Report Back on Proactive Monitoring of Financial Statements provided by the JSE. The Committee recommended the Group's and Company's annual financial statements to the Board for approval. It is satisfied that they comply with IFRS and that the financial statements be prepared on a going concern basis following an assessment of solvency and liquidity requirements.
On behalf of the Committee:
Audit & sustainability committee chair
01 September 2021