George Mari, MPP
Member of the DA in the KZN Legislature
A parliamentary reply to the Democratic Alliance, by KZN Premier, Zweli Mkhize’s office, has revealed that former provincial government employees still owe the province a staggering R58 million after being overpaid by mistake to the tune of R77 million.
The figure refers to staff that were paid despite having resigned during the period 1 April 2011 and 30 April 2012.
According to the reply, of the 15 provincial government departments, only three – Community Safety and Liaison, Economic Development and Tourism and the Royal Household – have emerged unscathed from the administrative debacle. By far the worst off are KZN’s education and health departments, which overpaid staff by R61 million and R13 million respectively. That these two portfolios are severely challenged in terms of delivery is an added blow.
Other departments found to have substantially overpaid staff, along with the amounts are;
Human Settlements – R690 000 Social Development – R420 000 COGTA – R412 000 Transport – R339 000
These numbers raise serious questions around competency levels within departments.
While the reply shows that R18 million has been recovered through various measures, the question must be asked – how else could KwaZulu-Natal have spent this R77 million?
– It is the amount that the KZN Health department subsidised Mc Cords hospital -a margin of life and death for some of our province’s people
– It is the amount required to build 916 homes at the current government subsidy of R84 000 per home
– It is the amount required to install 85 new Early Childhood Development learning blocks (1 x 75sqm unit, toilets, play equipment and fencing).
The money paid out in error to former employees must be returned to the provincial coffers. Every bit counts when there remains such a dire need for housing, hospitals and clinics, schools, roads, social upliftment and proper service delivery in our province. Excuses about budget constraints simply do not hold water if funds are disappearing into a black hole.
The DA calls on the Premier to ensure that this matter is prioritised. We expect him to set a deadline for erring departments to have collected and returned this money to the province’s coffers.