The Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Provincial Public Accounts, Hon. Mahlakeng Mahlakeng highlighted that it is going to be a very difficult year ahead for Heads of Departments if they do not adhere to the legislative frameworks that deal with procurement processes.
He said; “We are not going to allow inactive Heads of Departments to continue to let officials waste tax payers’ money on wasteful and fruitless expenditures, without any investigations or implicated costs to be recovered.”
This was during an oversight meeting that the committee held with the Department of Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development (FEED) over the progress report on the provincial departments and their entities’ irregular expenditure and implementation of consequence management.
The Head of Department of FEED, (HOD) Mr. Ndlela Kunene made a presentation before the committee on the progress of clearing unauthorised, irregular and fruitless expenditure for the departments, which was not updated according to the Auditor General’s office who also formed part of the meeting.
Amongst issues raised by the Auditor General (AG) was that, the provincial legislature which is also a government institution was not included in the list of departments presented by the HOD but has an irregular expenditure of R9million.
The AG’s office argued that the presentation states that no unauthorised expenditure was incurred during the 2015 – 2016, which is not a true reflection of audits; that Accounting Officers fail to act according to what the constitution stipulates, through the legislative framework.
The Deputy Business Executive in the Office of the AG, Mr. Schalla van Schalkwyk, made an input that the 60% of provincial departments including municipalities have not done anything about fruitless and wasteful expenditures in the prior years and current status is most likely to increase.
“R28 million was incurred on the prior years on the irregular expenditure and has doubled in the current year to R41million,” said Mr. Schalkwyk
He said that this is due to failure of Accounting Officers to take insurmountable action against officials who cause such irregularities.
The Chairperson of the committee was concerned at the lack of competency of Accounting Officers not taking action on consequence management of officials committing irregularities leading to disclaimers.
“We will not accept HOD’s to be lenient on officials and give us many excuses that they could not recover monies lost due to failure of not knowing who has committed such deficiencies,” said Hon. Mahlakeng
The committee strongly opposed the current statistics of the North West province as the last province to have clean audits and that action should be taken to rectify this challenge and deal with those who contribute negatively in the departments.
The committee also urged the Department of Finance and Economic Development to spear head the course of showing measures put in place to curb the challenge, as they managed to achieve a clean audit.
Source: Government of South Africa