Glenda Steyn MPL Chief Whip and Spokesperson on Public Accounts The Unauthorized Expenditure Bill adopted by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today did not condone more than R450 million in unauthorised expenditure by provincial departments. The bill gave effect to the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA). Gauteng Provincial Government departments overspend their budgets far too frequently. This happens every single year, not just every now and then. The greatest culprit is generally the Department of Health, which has had unauthorized expenditure in excess of R4.7 billion over the last 4 years. The DA is pleased that SCOPA does not simply condone this contravention of the law as contained in the Provincial Appropriation Act, known as the budget. SCOPA instead examines expenditure with integrity and has the courage to disallow over-expenditure which is due to maladministration, corruption, bad planning and poor management. I recall sitting in meetings some years ago when the condoning of unauthorized expenditure was motivated due to the extreme magnitude of the amount overspent. Now SCOPA will not recommend authorization of amounts which cannot be justified with solid reasons. For instance, if millions were spent on repairing a school which had suffered extreme damage due to a storm, the DA and SCOPA would be more than willing to condone the unbudgeted amount. However if the Department rented offices which it did not fully utilize, this cannot be condoned. We believe that this is a step in the right direction. Government will never budget properly if poor financial management is rewarded by a legislature that sweeps unauthorized expenditure under the carpet and condones without justification.