Karen de Kock, MPL
DA Northern Cape: Provincial Spokesperson of SCOPA
The Democratic Alliance will be holding the ANC administration to account for the financial misconduct revealed in the Auditor General’s briefing to the legislature today. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the province has nearly doubled from R1,3 billion in the previous financial year to R2,4 billion in the 2011/2012 financial year. It is clear that Operation Clean Audit 2014 is nothing but a pipe dream.
The Department of Health has received a consecutive disclaimer and is again the biggest offender of fruitless and wasteful expenditure. (The department of health is under the helm of a new HOD who is said to be a broom that sweeps clean. Shortly after her appointment, she made some departmental changes, and the DA hopes that these changes will reflect positively in next year’s audit outcomes.) Meanwhile COGHSTA has seen the greatest increase in fruitless and wasteful expenditure. It is hardly surprising that hospitals like Kuruman, which have at times turned away patients due to insufficient staff and funding, struggle to keep their doors open when one considers the amount of money wasted by the department.
Also deeply disturbing that there has been an increase in the number of officials doing business with the state with a total of 843 instances of non-compliance picked up by the AG. Even more concerning is the increase in the awarding of business to close family members such as the case of a R41000 contract in the Department of Economic Development. This may point to a crony network of government insiders awarding themselves state contracts.
The Northern Cape again failed to receive a single clean audit and instead saw four departments, including Roads and Public Works, Agriculture, the Legislature as well as Economic Development and Tourism having regressed from financially unqualified audits with findings to qualified audits.
It is untenable to have a situation whereby the Northern Cape under the ANC government continuously fail to receive a single clean audit report, whereas the DA run province of the Western Cape managed a clean sweep of audit outcomes within its first year of administration.
The DA believes that it is crucial that public money is properly accounted for and ultimately, spent correctly. Given that there were seemingly no consequences following the previous year’s wasteful and irregular expenditure of R1,3 billion. Ultimately, the buck stops with acting Premier Grizelda Cjiekella and MEC John Block, who control the province’s finances. I will be submitting parliamentary questions to Cjiekella and Block to ascertain what disciplinary measures, if any, have been taken against underperforming MEC’s and senior officials.