KZN Social Development under spends by millions

Johann Krog, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance

Despite a growing number of NGO’s in KwaZulu-Natal that are experiencing financial difficulty, the province’s Social Development department has under spent on its budget by almost R100 million during the past two financial years.

According to a parliamentary reply to the DA by MEC Weziwe Thusi, the department under spent by R18.252 million on its 2011/12 budget and R76.781 million during the past financial year – a massive total of R95.033 million.  In 2012/13 the department was given a qualified audit opinion.  In spite of this, the reply states that the department’s CFO achieved the targets set for these years.

The DA is extremely concerned by this revelation which comes at a time when many NGO’s in the province are feeling the pinch with some, such as Childline, on the brink of closure.

The KZN Social Development department exists primarily to hand out funding to organisations in need.  It has no capital projects and there is therefore no good reason why the full budget has not been spent.

At the heart of the problem lies administrative incompetence of the worst kind.  Quite simply, the money has not been allocated because officials have not been proactive, left the comfort of their offices and found organisations to fund.

The department has applied to the National Treasury for a rollover of these funds.  This is highly unlikely.  A far more likely scenario is that Treasury will reduce the budget allocated in the forthcoming financial year on the basis that the department failed to spend its budget for two years running.

This outcome would drastically compromise the welfare of KwaZulu-Natal’s most vulnerable citizens.

The DA believes that the department has seriously reneged on its mandate.  We expect MEC Thusi to explain how she has allowed this to happen on her watch.