Mark Steele, MPL
DA KZN Spokesperson on Scopa
A parliamentary reply to the DA has revealed that there were at least 279 cases of deviation from Supply Chain Management (SCM) procedures within KZN municipalities during the 2012/2013 financial year, totalling a massive R87million.
Yet, despite this damning information, the province’s COGTA department has not investigated any of the explanations given by municipal accounting officers.
The reply to the DA, dated 1 July and signed by KZN COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube also shows that not all municipalities supplied information around the number of departures from standard SCM procedure.
It also reveals that Umdoni municipality has the highest tally – at R43 million, followed by Okahlamba with R15.5million and Uthukela with R11.9 million.
The DA is appalled by this information. We are equally alarmed by the department’s failure to follow up on the excuses offered. With leadership such as this, it is little surprise that the vast majority of KZN’s municipalities continue to perform so poorly.
The Municipal Finance Management Act is very clear. Normal supply chain management procedure may only be bypassed under exceptional circumstances through the use of Section 36 regulations. Abuse of this rule is rife, yet no one seems willing or capable of taking responsibility for such failures of governance. If these municipalities are run by the ANC then the ANC provincial leadership and the Premier need to act to bring them under control.
Effectively, nobody has been held to account.
The DA demands that the MEC’s for COGTA and Treasury instruct their departments to launch a combined investigation into these transgressions and determine who should be held accountable. The provincial Scopa has been receiving general reports on irregular expenditure but the problem of Section 36 violations needs a special and comprehensive report all of its own.
Every effort must be made to establish whether these instances warranted avoiding normal procedure. Failure to do so will only encourage further exploitation of the system.