Premier David Makhura made much fuss about the 2016/17 audit outcomes of the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG). However, at close inspection, not much progress has been made as there are numerous similarities to the previous year’s outcomes, and in some instances the GPG has performed worse.
Of the 16 provincial government departments, 7 departments received unqualified audits, while the remaining 9, despite having unqualified audits, had issues flagged that concerns the Auditor General.
This is the same outcome as the previous financial year.
Irregular expenditure in 2016/17 amounted to R5.4 billion, up from R3.9 billion in the previous financial year. Of this, 97% was incurred by the departments of Health, Education, Human Settlements, Roads and Transport and Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SRAC).
The main drivers behind the irregular expenditure are procurement deviations, contravention of supply chain management regulations, the awarding of irregular tenders and the excessive overtime.
Fruitless and wasteful expenditure follows the same pattern as this figure increased from R23.6 million in 2015/16 to R37.9 million in 2016/17.
The Department of Human Settlements made up for the lion’s share of this amount at R31 million. The reasons as provided by the department are due to interest and charges on court orders and repairs done to damaged infrastructure.
Two departments, Education and SRAC accounted for the total GPG unauthorised expenditure, at R80.9 million and R17.9 million respectively. This figure would be higher across the board, however many departments simply incur more accruals to avoid unauthorised expenditure.
The growing irregular, fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure, mostly by the same departments who are repeat offenders, is a clear indication that this ANC-run administration does not have the capacity to arrest the problems facing departments.
What is needed more than debates and hot-air about what ought to be done, is stern and swift action to prevent this problem mushrooming and spiralling out of control.
Stricter measures need to be enforced with Accounting Officers to ensure legal compliance, systems must be installed to track and monitor overtime, and departmental bloat needs to be slashed to reduce the wage bill.
These steps are only but a few to be taken, but they require the political will to do so. This administration has long lost its will.
In 2019, the DA will make strides in ensuring that GPG departments are walking on the right path to ensure that a prosperous and efficient civil service exists in Gauteng.