North West Education underspent almost R1 /4 Billion on its core function

Chris Hattingh MPL

Democratic Alliance North West Provincial Leader

The North West Education Department today appeared at a meeting of the NW Education Portfolio Committee to account for their 2012 Annual Report. The NW Auditor General was also in attendance.

The Committee heard that the Department materially underspent their budget by not spending R275 923 000. This was mainly underspent on the crucial Public Ordinary Schools Programme (R196 675 000 unspent) and the Early Childhood Development Programme (R36 975 000).

This massive under spending on what should have been the primary focus of the Education Department not only is a serious concern butalso cast a doubt on MEC Louisa Mabe’s statement that “the Apex of all government priorities lies at an Improved Quality of Basic Education” – downgrading the vision to just political rhetoric.

The portfolio also took the Department to task on

* R 2 337 241 of irregular expenditure in contravention of supply chain legislation

* Awards of R1 842 431 that went to companies with persons in service of the Department as members or close family of officials – none of these interests were declared.

* Awards of R19 128 755 made to companies with other civil servants as members.

* 14 Departmental officials performing remunerative work outside their employment without permission

The lack of financial control in in the NW Department of Education, complicated by suspensions of senior personnel and continuing investigations into procurement is indicative of the NW delivery crisis – where a culture of “it’s our time to eat” has replaced quality delivery as the primary objective.

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